Rapid Risk Assessment: Severe respiratory disease associated with a novel coronavirus
New and noteworthy in this update: the retrospective identification of novel coronavirus in biological samples from two fatal cases in Jordan (April 2012) and the results of a joint ECDC/WHO survey which confirms that EU/EEA Member States have an adequate capacity to detect novel coronavirus through their network of national reference laboratories: 18 of 30 in EU/EEA countries are capable of confirming positive screened samples by either ORF1b RT-PCR or other target RT-PCR assays with sequence analysis or whole-genome sequence analysis.
ECDC’s updated risk assessment concludes that there is still no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission; the current facts still point towards a zoonotic or environmental source with occasional transmission to exposed humans.
Two cases in Jordan have retrospectively been confirmed. These additional cases have increased the geographical area in which transmission of the virus has occurred. The two fatal cases were part of a cluster of 11 patients with respiratory symptoms linked to a hospital. The limited information available about this outbreak does not allow for an assessment of whether human-to-human transmission has occurred or indeed whether the cases in this cluster had the same cause.
The ECDC risk assessment highlights that healthcare workers should be alerted to the possibility of attending to patients who meet specific characteristics which would require an investigation according to the WHO case definition. The new WHO recommendations favour the investigation of patients returning from the Arabian Peninsula or its neighbouring countries, but do not exclude the testing of patients with unexplained pneumonia in the absence of such travel. A specific serological test and seroepidemiological studies are needed to investigate the occurrence of mild and asymptomatic infections. The diagnostic capacity for novel coronavirus is adequate in the EU. This is confirmed by a newly published article in Eurosurveillance on the results of a survey undertaken by ECDC and WHO.
The virus genome is in the public domain and mechanisms for sharing samples and diagnostic methods between countries and laboratories are in place. As of 4 December 2012, a total of nine laboratory-confirmed cases of severe pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus have been reported to WHO. Five of the nine cases were fatal. Onset of disease was from April to October 2012 and all cases were resident in Saudi Arabia, Qatar or Jordan during the presumed 10 days incubation period. ECDC endorses the WHO travel advice and does not advise any travel or trade restrictions for Saudi Arabia or Qatar
SARS-CoV-2 in animals: susceptibility of animal species, risk for animal and public health, monitoring, prevention and control
28 Feb 2023 - The epidemiological situation of SARS-CoV-2 in humans and animals is continually evolving. To date, animal species known to transmit SARS-CoV-2 are American mink, raccoon dog, cat, ferret, hamster, house mouse, Egyptian fruit bat, deer mouse and white-tailed deer. Among farmed animals, American mink have the highest likelihood to become infected from humans or animals and further transmit SARS-CoV-2.
Outbreak of Shigella sonnei in the EU/EEA, the United Kingdom, and the United States among travellers returning from Cabo Verde
17 Feb 2023 - An increased reporting of shigellosis cases, mainly caused by Shigella sonnei, among travellers returning from Cabo Verde has been ongoing in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA), the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US) since September 2022. This outbreak evolved rapidly during November and December 2022.
Threat Assessment Brief: Implications for the EU/EEA of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron XBB.1.5 sub-lineage
13 Jan 2023 - According to the current ECDC assessment, there is moderate probability of XBB.1.5 becoming dominant in the EU/EEA and causing a substantial increase in the number of COVID-19 cases within the next one to two months.