Communicable disease threats report, 2-8 February 2014, week 6

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 2-8 February 2014

​The ECDC communicable disease threats report is a weekly bulletin intended for epidemiologists and health professionals in the area of communicable disease prevention and control. Summarising information gathered by ECDC through its epidemic intelligence activities regarding communicable disease threats of concern to the European Union, it also provides updates on the global situation and changes in the epidemiology of communicable diseases with potential to affect Europe, including diseases that are the focus of eradication efforts.

Executive summary

The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report is a weekly bulletin intended for epidemiologists and health professionals in the area of communicable disease prevention and control. This issue covers the period of 2-8 February 2014 and includes updates on:

Seasonal influenza

The number of countries with geographic spread of influenza activity increased on week 5/2014 compared to the previous. Greece reported high intensity influenza activity, while Bulgaria, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Malta and Spain reported medium-intensity activity. Low intensity influenza activity was reported by 22 out of 29 countries which provided clinical data for week 5/2014.

Chikungunya in the Caribbean 

During the past week, 416 new cases of chikungunya have been reported in the Caribbean. New confirmed cases were reported from Saint Martin (FR) (125), Sint Maarten (NL) (51), Martinique (154), Saint Barthélemy (27), Guadeloupe (56), British Virgin islands (1). In addition, one imported case was notified in Anguilla and one imported case in Aruba.
Zika virus infection outbreak 

During the past week, 13 additional confirmed cases of ZIKV infection were reported in French Polynesia and 10 new autochthonous cases in New Caledonia. The outbreak seems to be declining in most of the affected islands of French Polynesia. Two French overseas territories are affected by outbreaks of Zika virus (ZIKV) infection: French Polynesia and New Caledonia. This is the second documented outbreak of ZIKV infection reported in the Pacific. There is a simultaneous dengue outbreak in the region. French Polynesia health authorities report a concurrent significant increase in neurological syndromes and autoimmune illnesses. The cause and possible links with Zika or dengue virus infections are being investigated.
Influenza A(H7N9) in China

Between 30 January and 7 February 2014, 35 new cases of A(H7N9) infection have been reported by local authorities in China: Zhejiang (11), Guangdong (16), Fujian (three), Hunan (three), Jiangsu (one) and Guangxi (one). In March 2013, a novel avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was detected in patients in China. Since then, the outbreak has affected 14 Chinese provinces and two municipalities, causing 308 cases of human infection, including 63 deaths. Most cases have been unlinked and sporadic zoonotic transmission from poultry to humans is the most likely explanation for the outbreak. Sustained person-to-person transmission has not been documented. On 28 January ECDC published the third update of its rapid risk assessment on A(H7N9) in China, and the latest epidemiological update on this topic was released on 7 February.