Communicable disease threats report, 2-8 March 2014, week 10

Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 2 - 8 March 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 2–8 March 2014 and includes updates on:

Measles outbreak on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea Italy reported that approximately 40 crew members showed symptoms of Exanthematous disease suspected to be measles aboard a cruise ship coming from Palma de Mallorca, Spain to the port of Civitavecchia, Italy. On 28 February, Italy reported that nine people were hospitalised in Rome with symptoms suggestive of measles.ECDC published a Rapid Risk Assessment on 6 March 2014.

Seasonal influenza in Europe Of 30 countries providing clinical data, Greece and Finland reported high-intensity influenza activity, ten countries reported medium intensity and 18 reported low-intensity influenza activity. ECDC published its Annual Risk Assessment on seasonal influenza on 4 March 2014.

Zika virus infection outbreak in the Pacific region To date, there have been more than 8 500 suspected cases of Zika virus infection (ZIKAV) in French Polynesia of which 74 had neurological and auto-immune complications, and 41 of those had Guillain-Barré syndrome. In New Caledonia, 171 confirmed cases have been reported with no reports of neurological complications, and one case of ZIKAV was reported from Easter Island, a Chilean territory.

Influenza A(H7N9) in China Between 28 February and 6 March 2014, 10 new cases of influenza A (H7N9)infection were reported in China: Zheijang (3), Guangdong (3), Hunan (2), Juangsu (1) and Guangxi (1). However, the risk of the disease spreading to Europe in the near future is still considered low.ECDC published an updated Rapid Risk Assessment on 26 February 2014.

Middle East respiratory syndrome – coronavirus (MERS CoV) Two new cases (stated to be male) of MERS-CoV were reported by local health authorities in Saudi Arabia. Both suffered from chronic diseases and one has died. Although there is a continued risk of cases presenting in Europe following exposure in the Middle-East, the risk of secondary transmission in the EU remains low.