Communicable disease threats report, 5-11 January 2014, week 2

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

​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 of 5-11 January 2014 and includes the following:

Influenza A(H5N1): first confirmed human case in North America
On 8 January 2014, Canada reported a fatal imported case of influenza A(H5N1) infection. The risk of secondary cases and co-primary cases among close contacts of the Canadian case is considered to be very low. This is the first confirmed human case of A(H5N1) in North America.
The influenza A(H5N1) virus, commonly known as the bird flu, is fatal in about 60% of human infections. Sporadic cases continue to be reported, usually after contact with sick or dead poultry from certain Asian and African countries. No human cases have been reported from Europe.

Chikungunya: second case confirmed in Sint Maarten
In the past week, a second case of chikungunya has been confirmed in the Dutch part of Saint Martin (Sint Maarten) in Cay Hill. Epidemiological data indicate that the outbreak that started in Saint Martin is expanding. An increase in the number of cases is expected from the affected areas and the outbreak is likely to continue to spread geographically supporting the conclusions of the ECDC rapid risk assessment published on 12 December 2013.
On 6 December 2013, France first reported two laboratory-confirmed cases of chikungunya in Saint Martin. Since then, local transmission has been confirmed in Sint Maarten, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy and Guadeloupe. This is the first documented outbreak of chikungunya with autochthonous transmission in the Americas.

Seasonal influenza: viruses circulating remain well-matched with 2013-2014 seasonal vaccine viruses
During the first week of 2014, 28 of the 29 reporting countries reported low-intensity influenza activity, while Spain reported medium-intensity influenza activity. The season has started slowly in EU/EEA countries and the viruses circulating remain well-matched with the 2013-2014 seasonal vaccine viruses.