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Ongoing outbreak with well over 4,000 measles cases in Italy from January to end August 2017 ? what is making elimination so difficult?

Joi, 2017-09-14 03:00

We report an ongoing measles outbreak in Italy, with over 4,400 cases reported in 20 Regions from January to August 2017. Median age was 27 years, 88% of the cases were unvaccinated. The highest incidence was in infants below one year of age and 7% of cases occurred among healthcare workers. Three deaths occurred and two cases of encephalitis were reported. Wide immunity gaps and nosocomial transmission are major challenges to measles elimination in Italy.

First outbreak of Zika virus in the continental United States: a modelling analysis

Joi, 2017-09-14 03:00

Since 2015, Zika virus (ZIKV) has spread throughout Latin and Central America. This emerging infectious disease has been causing considerable public health concern because of severe neurological complications, especially in newborns after congenital infections. In July 2016, the first outbreak in the continental United States was identified in the Wynwood neighbourhood of Miami-Dade County, Florida. In this work, we investigated transmission dynamics using a mathematical model calibrated to observed data on mosquito abundance and symptomatic human infections. We found that, although ZIKV transmission was detected in July 2016, the first importation may have occurred between March and mid-April. The estimated highest value for R0 was 2.73 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.65-4.17); the attack rate was 14% (95% CI: 5.6-27.4%), with 15 (95% CI: 6-29) pregnant women involved and a 12% probability of infected blood donations. Vector control avoided 60% of potential infections. According to our results, it is likely that further ZIKV outbreaks identified in other areas of Miami-Dade County were seeded by commuters to Wynwood rather than by additional importation from international travellers. Our study can help prepare future outbreak-related interventions in European areas where competent mosquitoes for ZIKV transmission are already established.

The European Medical Corps: first Public Health Team mission and future perspectives

Joi, 2017-09-14 03:00

The 2013-2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa challenged traditional international mechanisms for public health team mobilisation to control outbreaks. Consequently, in February 2016, the European Union (EU) launched the European Medical Corps (EMC), a mechanism developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to rapidly deploy teams and equipment in response to public health emergencies inside and outside the EU. Public Health Teams (PHTs), a component of the EMC, consist of experts in communicable disease prevention and control from participating countries and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), to support affected countries and WHO in risk assessment and outbreak response. The European Commission's Directorate-General European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and Directorate-General Health and Food Safety, and ECDC, plan and support deployments. The first EMC-PHT deployment took place in May 2016, with a team sent to Angola for a yellow fever outbreak. The aims were to evaluate transmission risks to local populations and EU citizens in Angola, the risk of regional spread and importation into the EU, and to advise Angolan and EU authorities on control measures. International actors should gain awareness of the EMC, its response capacities and the means for requesting assistance.

Preliminary findings indicate nosocomial transmission and Roma population as most affected group in ongoing measles B3 genotype outbreak in Bulgaria, March to August 2017

Joi, 2017-09-07 03:00

From March to August 2017, 165 measles cases were reported from three regions in Bulgaria. The age range was 0?55 years and 66% of the cases were under 9 years. The Roma population was disproportionally affected (89% of cases), 41% cases were unvaccinated and in 24 cases there was nosocomial transmission mostly in paediatric departments. A child under 12 months of age died. Control measures have been taken and the investigation is still ongoing.

Recurrent seasonal outbreak of an emerging serotype of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC O55:H7 Stx2a) in the south west of England, July 2014 to September 2015

Joi, 2017-09-07 03:00

The first documented British outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) O55:H7 began in the county of Dorset, England, in July 2014. Since then, there have been a total of 31 cases of which 13 presented with haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS). The outbreak strain had Shiga toxin (Stx) subtype 2a associated with an elevated risk of HUS. This strain had not previously been isolated from humans or animals in England. The only epidemiological link was living in or having close links to two areas in Dorset. Extensive investigations included testing of animals and household pets. Control measures included extended screening, iterative interviewing and exclusion of cases and high risk contacts. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) confirmed that all the cases were infected with similar strains. A specific source could not be identified. The combination of epidemiological investigation and WGS indicated, however, that this outbreak was possibly caused by recurrent introductions from a local endemic zoonotic source, that a highly similar endemic reservoir appears to exist in the Republic of Ireland but has not been identified elsewhere, and that a subset of cases was associated with human-to-human transmission in a nursery.

Status, quality and specific needs of Zika virus (ZIKV) diagnostic capacity and capability in National Reference Laboratories for arboviruses in 30 EU/EEA countries, May 2016

Joi, 2017-09-07 03:00

With international travel, Zika virus (ZIKV) is introduced to Europe regularly. A country's ability to robustly detect ZIKV introduction and local transmission is important to minimise the risk for a ZIKV outbreak. Therefore, sufficient expertise and diagnostic capacity and capability are required in European laboratories. To assess the capacity, quality, operational specifics (guidelines and algorithms), technical and interpretation issues and other possible difficulties that were related to ZIKV diagnostics in European countries, a questionnaire was conducted among national reference laboratories in 30 countries in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) in May 2016. While the coverage and capacity of ZIKV diagnostics in the EU/EEA national reference laboratories were found to be adequate, the assessment of the quality and needs indicated several crucial points of improvement that will need support at national and EU/EEA level to improve ZIKV preparedness, response and EU/EEA ZIKV surveillance activities.

Ongoing mumps outbreak in Israel, January to August 2017

Joi, 2017-08-31 03:00

In Israel, 262 mumps cases were registered between 1 January and 28 August 2017 despite a vaccine coverage of ??96%. The majority (56.5%) of cases were adolescents and young adults between 10 and 24 years of age. Nearly twice as many cases were reported in males than in females. Sequence information identified genotype G and suggested specific transmission chains in different religious communities, with the Muslim population in Jerusalem being most severely affected.

The spatiotemporal characteristics of influenza A and B in the WHO European Region: can one define influenza transmission zones in Europe?

Joi, 2017-08-31 03:00

We aimed to assess the epidemiology and spatiotemporal patterns of influenza in the World Health Organization (WHO) European Region and evaluate the validity of partitioning the Region into five influenza transmission zones (ITZs) as proposed by the WHO. We used the FluNet database and included over 650,000 influenza cases from 2000 to 2015. We analysed the data by country and season (from July to the following June). We calculated the median proportion of cases caused by each virus type in a season, compared the timing of the primary peak between countries and used a range of cluster analysis methods to assess the degree of overlap between the WHO-defined and data-driven ITZs. Influenza A and B caused, respectively, a median of 83% and 17% cases in a season. There was a significant west-to-east and non-significant (p?=?0.10) south-to-north gradient in the timing of influenza activity. Typically, influenza peaked in February and March; influenza A earlier than influenza B. Most countries in the WHO European Region would fit into two ITZs: 'Western Europe' and 'Eastern Europe'; countries bordering Asia may be better placed into extra-European ITZs. Our findings have implications for the presentation of surveillance data and prevention and control measures in this large WHO Region.

Environmental surveillance during an outbreak of tularaemia in hares, the Netherlands, 2015

Joi, 2017-08-31 03:00

Tularaemia, a disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, is a re-emerging zoonosis in the Netherlands. After sporadic human and hare cases occurred in the period 2011 to 2014, a cluster of F. tularensis-infected hares was recognised in a region in the north of the Netherlands from February to May 2015. No human cases were identified, including after active case finding. Presence of F. tularensis was investigated in potential reservoirs and transmission routes, including common voles, arthropod vectors and surface waters. F. tularensis was not detected in common voles, mosquito larvae or adults, tabanids or ticks. However, the bacterium was detected in water and sediment samples collected in a limited geographical area where infected hares had also been found. These results demonstrate that water monitoring could provide valuable information regarding F. tularensis spread and persistence, and should be used in addition to disease surveillance in wildlife.

Persistent detection of dengue virus RNA in vaginal secretion of a woman returning from Sri Lanka to Italy, April 2017

Joi, 2017-08-24 03:00

We describe the dynamics of dengue virus (DENV) infection in a woman in her mid-30s who developed fever after returning from Sri Lanka to Italy in April 2017. Laboratory testing demonstrated detectable DENV-RNA in plasma, urine, saliva, vaginal secretion. Persistent shedding of DENV-RNA was demonstrated in vaginal secretion, and DENV-RNA was detectable in the pelleted fraction up to 18 days from symptom onset. These findings give new insights into DENV vaginal shedding and vertical transmission.

Large measles outbreak introduced by asylum seekers and spread among the insufficiently vaccinated resident population, Berlin, October 2014 to August 2015

Joi, 2017-08-24 03:00

The largest measles outbreak in Berlin since 2001 occurred from October 2014 to August 2015. Overall, 1,344 cases were ascertained, 86% (with available information) unvaccinated, including 146 (12%) asylum seekers. Median age was 17 years (interquartile range: 4-29 years), 26% were hospitalised and a 1-year-old child died. Measles virus genotyping uniformly revealed the variant 'D8-Rostov-Don' and descendants. The virus was likely introduced by and initially spread among asylum seekers before affecting Berlin's resident population. Among Berlin residents, the highest incidence was in children aged?<?2 years, yet most cases (52%) were adults. Post-exposure vaccinations in homes for asylum seekers, not always conducted, occurred later (median: 7.5 days) than the recommended 72 hours after onset of the first case and reached only half of potential contacts. Asylum seekers should not only have non-discriminatory, equitable access to vaccination, they also need to be offered measles vaccination in a timely fashion, i.e. immediately upon arrival in the receiving country. Supplementary immunisation activities targeting the resident population, particularly adults, are urgently needed in Berlin.

The effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing hospitalisations of elderly individuals in two influenza seasons: a multicentre case-control study, Spain, 2013/14 and 2014/15

Joi, 2017-08-24 03:00

Influenza vaccination may limit the impact of influenza in the community. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of influenza vaccination in preventing hospitalisation in individuals aged???65 years in Spain. A multicentre case-control study was conducted in 20 Spanish hospitals during 2013/14 and 2014/15. Patients aged???65 years who were hospitalised with laboratory-confirmed influenza were matched with controls according to sex, age and date of hospitalisation. Adjusted vaccine effectiveness (VE) was calculated by multivariate conditional logistic regression. A total of 728 cases and 1,826 matched controls were included in the study. Overall VE was 36% (95% confidence interval (CI): 22-47). VE was 51% (95% CI: 15-71) in patients without high-risk medical conditions and 30% (95% CI: 14-44) in patients with them. VE was 39% (95% CI: 20-53) in patients aged 65-79 years and 34% (95% CI: 11-51) in patients aged???80 years, and was greater against the influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 subtype than the A(H3N2) subtype. Influenza vaccination was effective in preventing hospitalisations of elderly individuals.

A cluster of measles linked to an imported case, Finland, 2017

Joi, 2017-08-17 03:00

One imported and five secondary cases of measles were detected in Finland between June and August 2017. The measles sequences available for four laboratory-confirmed cases were identical and belonged to serotype D8. The large number of potentially exposed Finnish and foreign individuals called for close cooperation of national and international public health authorities and other stakeholders. Raising awareness among healthcare providers and ensuring universally high vaccination coverage is crucial to prevent future clusters and outbreaks.

Ongoing large measles outbreak with nosocomial transmission in Milan, northern Italy, March-August 2017

Joi, 2017-08-17 03:00

A large measles outbreak has been ongoing in Milan and surrounding areas. From 1 March to 30 June 2017, 203 measles cases were laboratory-confirmed (108 sporadic cases and 95 related to 47 clusters). Phylogenetic analysis revealed the co-circulation of two different genotypes, D8 and B3. Both genotypes caused nosocomial clusters in two hospitals. The rapid analysis of epidemiological and phylogenetic data allowed effective surveillance and tracking of transmission pathways.

A nosocomial measles outbreak in Italy, February-April 2017

Joi, 2017-08-17 03:00

We describe a nosocomial outbreak of measles that occurred in an Italian hospital during the first months of 2017, involving 35 persons and including healthcare workers, support personnel working in the hospital, visitors and community contacts. Late diagnosis of the first case, support personnel not being promptly recognised as hospital workers and diffusion of the infection in the emergency department had a major role in sustaining this outbreak.

Imported case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection from Oman to Thailand, June 2015

Joi, 2017-08-17 03:00

Thailand reported the first Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) case on 18 June 2015 (day 4) in an Omani patient with heart condition who was diagnosed with pneumonia on hospital admission on 15 June 2015 (day 1). Two false negative RT-PCR on upper respiratory tract samples on days 2 and 3 led to a 48-hour diagnosis delay and a decision to transfer the patient out of the negative pressure unit (NPU). Subsequent examination of sputum later on day 3 confirmed MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. The patient was immediately moved back into the NPU and then transferred to Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute. Over 170 contacts were traced; 48 were quarantined and 122 self-monitored for symptoms. High-risk close contacts exhibiting no symptoms, and whose laboratory testing on the 12th day after exposure was negative, were released on the 14th day. The Omani Ministry of Health (MOH) was immediately notified using the International Health Regulation (IHR) mechanism. Outbreak investigation was conducted in Oman, and was both published on the World Health Organization (WHO) intranet and shared with Thailand's IHR focal point. The key to successful infection control, with no secondary transmission, were the collaborative efforts among hospitals, laboratories and MOHs of both countries.

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