From 8 to 14 September 2013, ECDC monitored several on-going public health threats within and outside the European Union.
West Nile fever
Between 6 and 12 September 2013, 33 new cases of West Nile fever (WNF) were detected within the European Union (EU): 10 from Croatia, 8 from Greece, 8 from Hungary and 7 from Italy. The EU neighbouring countries reported 72 new cases during that time: Serbia reported 58 cases, Israel 9, Russia 4 and Bosnia and Herzegovina 1. See also the latest update on ECDC’s weekly West Nile fever maps.
Israel has been free of indigenous WPV transmission since 1988. On 9 April 2013, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV 1) was isolated from sewage samples in Rahat, southern Israel. WPV 1 has been detected in nearly hundred sewage samples from all across Israel since then, indicating widespread transmission throughout the country.
During the week leading up to 13 September 2013, wild polio virus has been discovered in Jerusalem’s waste-water treatment plant for the first time. So far, no clinical cases have been seen in Israel.
Nationwide measures to prevent cases of poliomyelitis and stop the environmental spread of the virus have been adopted in Israel, including a supplementary immunisation activity with bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV 1and 3) with the aim to boost mucosal immunity levels in cohorts of children naïve to OPV to rapidly interrupt virus circulation.
Avian influenza (H7N7)
An outbreak of avian influenza (H7N7) in poultry has been reported in the region of Emilia Romagna (Italy) since August 2013. An active surveillance system has been implemented for all workers at the poultry farms who are exposed to sick animals, as well as their close contacts. Three poultry workers from this area have presented clinical signs of conjunctivitis. All three tested positive for H7N7.
Conjunctivitis in people exposed to poultry infected by avian influenza H7N7 has been well documented in previous outbreaks. Close monitoring of cases is critical to detect further human to human transmission and to subsequently implement prevention measures.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
Between 6 and 12 September 2013, 21 new cases of MERS-CoV have been reported by national health authorities. Twenty cases were reported in Saudi Arabia, including five deaths, and the primary case from the Tunisian cluster who passed away on 10 May 2013, was retroactively confirmed by Tunisian health authorities.