Communicable disease threats report, 5-21 May 2016, week 20

Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 15 - 21 May 2016

​The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals on active public health threats. This issue covers the period 15-21 May 2016 and includes updates on Zika virus, outbreak of yellow fever and Polio.

Executive summary

Zika – Multistate (world)

Several countries in the Americas, Caribbean and the Pacific continue to report autochthonous cases of Zika virus infection. Puerto Rican authorities reported the first possible case of microcephaly associated with locally-acquired Zika infection.

As of 19 May 2016, ECDC has recorded 607 imported cases in 18 EU/EEA countries. Thirty-four of the imported cases are pregnant women.

There is now a scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Given this scientific consensus on the evidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with Zika virus infection, ECDC recommends that pregnant women postpone non-essential travel to Zika-affected areas.


Outbreak of yellow fever

An outbreak of yellow fever in Angola started in December 2015 in the municipality of Viana, Luanda province and spread to all the 18 provinces of Angola. A mass immunisation campaign is taking place. The neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) reports imported cases of yellow fever and on 2 May the first confirmed autochthonous transmission in Kinshasa, the capital. On 5 may, DRC reported an additional autochthonous case in Kongo Central. An outbreak of yellow fever not linked to the outbreak in Angola has been reported in several districts in Uganda.
As of 16 May 2016, the International Coordinating Group (ICG) on vaccine provision for yellow fever has provided approximately 15 million vaccine doses: 11.7 million for Angola, 2.2 million for DRC and 0.76 million for Uganda.

Middle East respiratory syndrome – coronavirus (MERS CoV) – Multistate

Since the last update on 14 April 2016, ten additional MERS-CoV cases have been detected in the Middle East. Nine of the cases occurred in Saudi Arabia and one was reported from Qatar.

Since April 2012 and as of 18 May 2016, 2016, 1 751 cases of MERS, including 680 deaths, have been reported by 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 as being a reservoir from which humans sporadically become infected through zoonotic transmission