Communicable disease threats report, 4 May-10 May 2014, week 19

9 May 2014
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 4 - 10 May 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 5 – 9 May 2014 and includes updates on:

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

A further 87 cases of MERS-CoV have been reported during the past week: 78 by Saudi Arabia and 4 by the United Arab Emirates. Jordan recorded 3 cases. The USA has reported the first case of MERS-CoV with travel history to Saudi Arabia while Yemen has reported a first case of MERS-CoV with no recent travel history or contact to a confirmed case. ECDC published an update to its rapid risk assessment on 25 April 2014 and an epidemiological update on 6 May 2014.


On 5 May 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared polio a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and issued temporary recommendations for controlling the spread of polioviruses. To date, 74 polio cases across the world have been reported to the WHO in 2014, compared to 26 in the same time period in 2013. The most affected country is Pakistan with 59 cases this year. The recent detection of wild-type poliovirus in environmental samples in Israel, and the confirmed and ongoing outbreaks in Syria and Somalia highlight the risk of re-importation of polio into Europe. Recommendations are provided in the risk assessments: Rapid Risk Assessment on suspected polio cases in Syria and the risk to the EU/EEA and Wild-type poliovirus 1 transmission in Israel - what is the risk to the EU/EEA.  

Ebola virus disease – West Africa

Ten new clinical cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported from Guinea while there have been no new clinical cases in Liberia since 6 April 2014. ECDC has published an updated rapid risk assessment and provided guidance to Member States for the safe handling of bush meat, as well as for travellers from and to the affected countries. Latest epidemiological update was published on the 25 April.

Chikungunya, Caribbean

During the past week, new cases have been reported in most of the affected areas. Increased transmission is reported by the Dominican Republic and Dominica. The first 14 confirmed cases have been reported from Haiti. Antigua and Barbuda have reported the first confirmed case; at the moment it is not confirmed that the case is due to autochthonous transmission. To date, islands with confirmed cases are Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy, Guadeloupe, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Dominica, Aruba, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, and French Guiana in mainland South America.ECDC published a rapid risk assessment on 11 December 2013. Latest epidemiological update on 7 February 2014.

Influenza A(H7N9)During the month of April, 26 cases have been reported (Guangdong (8), Jiangsu (8), Anhui (4), Hong Kong (3), Hunan (2) and Jiangxi (1)). The most likely scenario is that this remains a local, although geographically widespread, zoonotic outbreak, in which the virus is transmitted sporadically to humans in close contact with the animal reservoir, similar to the influenza A(H5N1) situation. The Chinese health authorities continue to respond to this public health event with enhanced surveillance, epidemiological and laboratory investigation, including scientific research. ECDC published an updated risk assessment on 26 February 2014 and an epidemiological update on 7 February 2014.