Communicable disease threats report, 25-31 August 2013, week 35

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)

​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

​From 25 to 30 August 2013, ECDC monitored several ongoing public health threats within and outside the European Union. 

West Nile fever

As of 29 August 2013, 68 human cases of West Nile fever (WNF) have been reported in countries of the European Union (EU) and 256 cases in EU neighbouring countries since the beginning of the 2013 transmission season. During the past week, 26 new cases were detected in the EU: 14 in Greece, 4 in Romania, 2 in Hungary, 5 in Italy and 1 in Croatia. 80 new cases were reported from EU neighbouring countries: Israel (14), Russia (32), Serbia (33) and Ukraine (1). See also ECDC’s weekly West Nile fever maps.


In Israel, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was isolated from sewage samples. No cases of paralytic polio have been reported thus far. Since 22 August 2013, Israel has reported the detection of positive sewage samples from 3 additional sites. One positive sewage sample collected on 30 June 2013 in the West Bank has been reported.
The World Health Organization estimates the risk of further international spread of WPV1 from Israel to remain moderate to high. ECDC is currently preparing an assessment on the situation considering a possible risk of importation of wild poliovirus to the EU, and the risk of transmission within the EU.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Between April 2012 and 29 August 2013, 106 laboratory-confirmed cases, including 50 deaths, of acute respiratory disease caused by MERS-CoV have been reported by national health authorities. Between 22 August and 29 August 2013, three new cases have been reported. Saudi Arabia reported two cases, including one death. One new case was reported by Qatar health authorities.
The continued detection of MERS-CoV cases in the Middle East indicates that there is an ongoing source of infection present in the region. The reservoir for MERS CoV has not yet been established, nor is it clear how transmission occurs. ECDC is closely monitoring the situation and has published a Public Health Development regarding the isolation of MERS-CoV from a bat sample.