Communicable disease threats report, 3-9 November 2013, week 45

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 3 - 9 November 2013

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

Seasonal influenza

During week 44, all 25 reporting countries experienced low intensity of clinical influenza activity and reported stable or decreasing trends.

West Nile fever 

Since 25 October 2013, no cases of West Nile fever have been reported. With the decrease of mosquito populations’ activity, the season of West Nile virus transmission to humans is now coming to an end in the EU and neighbouring countries. ECDC published its last weekly update of the WN fever maps on Friday 7 November closing its seasonal monitoring of West Nile virus transmission for 2013.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Between 31 October and 7 November 2013, one additional fatal case has been reported from Saudi Arabia in a 56-year-old female from the Eastern Region of the country. On 6 November 2013, Spain reported a probable case of MERS-CoV infection in a traveller returning from the Hajj. No contacts with animals or confirmed MERS-CoV cases were reported. Initial lab tests for MERS-CoV on three different samples were positive on 5 November, and further tests are on-going to confirm the findings. This is the first case reported in Spain and the first case in the EU since May 2013. ECDC updated its rapid risk assessment on 7 November.

 Wound botulism in people who inject drugs 

Norway has reported two confirmed and four suspected cases of wound botulism in people who inject drugs. This is the largest outbreak of wound botulism ever identified in Norway. No new cases were reported during the week leading up to 8 November 2013. ECDC published a rapid risk assessment in collaboration with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction on 31 October 2013