Communicable disease threats report, 8-14 March 2015, week 11

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 8 - 14 March 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

​The ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals about active public health threats. This issue covers the period 8 to 14 March 2015 and includes updates on seasonal influenza, avian influenza A(H5N1) virus and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus.

Seasonal influenza – Europe
Influenza activity seems to have passed its peak in most of the European countries as decreasing (27) or stable (12) activity is reported by 39 of the 40 countries. In week 10/2015, 23 countries reported widespread activity and/or medium levels of influenza. The observed reduced effectiveness of the A(H3N2) component of the influenza vaccine might have contributed to the excess mortality reported among elderly people.

ECDC and WHO produce the Flu News Europe bulletin weekly.

Middle East respiratory syndrome – coronavirus (MERS-CoV) 
Since April 2012 and as of 12 March 2015, 1 093 cases of MERS-CoV have been reported by local health authorities worldwide, including 449 deaths. Saudi Arabia has reported 12 additional cases of MERS-CoV in Riyadh (8 cases), Jeddah (2), Buraydah (1) and Hofuf (1) since the last update of 6 March 2015 and as of 12 March 2015. Two of the cases were healthcare workers. Of the 12 cases, one was classified as nosocomial infection, three are currently under investigation for possible nosocomial transmission, and one case had contact with a previously reported case in the community. Three of the 12 cases reported animal contact, one of which was specified as camel contact.

ECDC published an update of its rapid risk assessment on MERS-CoV on 9 March 2015.

Influenza A(H5N1) 
Human cases and fatalities due to influenza A(H5N1) virus continue to increase in Egypt, with cases from Egypt now accounting for the highest number of human cases reported worldwide. Since the last influenza update on 26 January 2015 by the World Health Organization, 66 new laboratory-confirmed human cases of avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection, including 13 fatal cases have occurred in Egypt (65) and China (one).

ECDC published an update of its rapid risk assessment on 13 March 2015.