Communicable disease threats report, 25-31 October 2015, Week 44

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

This issue covers the period 25-31 October 2015, and includes updates on MERS, Ebola virus disease and the influenza 2015-2016 season. Middle East respiratory syndrome – coronavirus (MERS CoV) 

Since 22 October, there have been nine new cases and three deaths reported from Saudi Arabia. The Republic of Korea has reported a case testing positive again for MERS-CoV and a death in another case related to the hospital cluster reported earlier this year.
As of 29 October 2015, 1 635 cases of MERS, including 628 deaths, have been reported by local health authorities worldwide. The source of the virus remains unknown, but the pattern of transmission and virological studies point towards dromedary camels in the Middle East being a reservoir from which humans sporadically become infected. Human-to-human transmission is amplified among household contacts and in healthcare settings.

Ebola virus disease, West Africa
Three confirmed cases were reported from Guinea in the week leading up to 25 October. No new cases have been reported for six consecutive weeks in Sierra Leone. If no new cases are reported, Sierra Leone will be declared Ebola free on 7 November.
An epidemic of Ebola virus disease has been ongoing in West Africa since December 2013, mainly affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Case incidence has remained below 10 cases per week since the end of July 2015 in the last two affected countries (Guinea and Sierra Leone). The risk of spread remains, regionally and globally, until all the countries in West Africa are declared Ebola-free.

Influenza season – 201-2016 season
Forty-two countries reported low influenza activity in week 43.
As is usual for this time of year, intensity of influenza in the European Region is still low. ECDC monitors influenza activity in Europe during the winter season and publishes its report weekly on the Flu News Europe website.