Communicable disease threats report, 5-11 April 2015, week 15

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 5 - 11 April 2015

​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 5 to 11 April 2015 and includes updates on influenza A(H5N1), Ebola virus disease epidemic – West Africa and seasonal influenza in Europe.

Influenza A(H5N1)

According to the Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt, as of 6 April 2015, there have been 134 human cases of influenza A(H5N1), including 38 deaths, reported in Egypt so far in 2015. This outbreak in Egypt has now caused more cases during one season than has been reported from any other country globally.

The influenza A(H5N1) virus, commonly known as bird flu, is fatal in about 60% of human infections.

ECDC published an epidemiological update on 10 April and a Rapid Risk Assessment covering A(H5N1) in Egypt on 13 March 2015.

Ebola virus disease epidemic – West Africa

Thirty new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease were reported from WHO in the week from 30 March to 5 April (21 in Guinea and 9 in Sierra Leone). Liberia reported no new confirmed cases. This is the lowest weekly total since the third week of May 2014.

As of 7 April 2015, WHO reported 25 567 cases of Ebola virus disease related to the outbreak in West Africa, including 10 599 deaths.

ECDC published a Rapid Risk Assessment on 4 February 2015 and provides an epidemiological situation update on a weekly basis.

Seasonal influenza – Europe

During week 14/2015, seasonal influenza activity continued to decrease in most reporting countries, although the proportion of influenza-virus-positive specimens remained high (36%). Since week 51/2014, the positivity rate has been over the threshold of 10% indicating seasonal influenza activity.

ECDC and WHO monitor and report on influenza activity in Europe on a weekly basis throughout the flu season in the Flu News Europe bulletin.