Communicable disease threats report, Week 33, 9 - 15 August 2015

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 9 - 15 August 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 9 to 15 August 2015 and includes updates on the West Nile virus, the environmental suitability of Vibrio growth in the Baltic Sea and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


West Nile virus in Europe

In the past week, Austria reported its first case of West Nile fever (WNF), detected in an asymptomatic blood donor from Vienna. Since the beginning of the 2015 transmission season and as of 13 August, seven human cases of WNF have been reported in EU Member States: Italy (4), Bulgaria (1), Romania (1) and Austria (1). Eight cases were detected in neighbouring countries: Israel (7) and Serbia (1).
ECDC publishes weekly West Nile fever maps to inform blood safety authorities regarding affected areas. ECDC also recently published maps showing new areas with invasive mosquito species in southern Europe.


Monitoring environmental suitability of Vibrio growth in the Baltic Sea

As of 11 August, the environmental conditions for Vibrio growth for the next five days are considered suitable at a very low to low level in the southern part of the Baltic Sea, particularly around Lübeck, Kiel, Szczecin, Gdansk, Klaipeda, Riga and Parnu.
Elevated sea surface temperatures in marine environments with low salt content provide ideal environmental growth conditions for certain Vibrio species. Vibriosis in humans caused by the species in the Baltic region have previously occurred during hot summer months, particularly when the sea surface temperature has been elevated. The most common clinical manifestations are gastroenteritis, wound infections, primary septicaemia, and otitis externa (swimmer's ear).

Ebola virus disease in West Africa   

According to the latest WHO situation report published on 12 August 2015, three confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in the week up to 9 August: two in Guinea and one in Sierra Leone. Liberia has reported no new cases. As of 12 August 2015, WHO has reported 27 965 cases of EVD related to the outbreak in West Africa, including 11 298 deaths.