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Communicable Disease Threats Report, 24 - 30 April 2016 (Week 17)

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I. Executive summary

EU Threats

Influenza - Multistate (Europe) - Monitoring 2015-2016 season

Influenza transmission in Europe shows a clear seasonal pattern, with peak activity during winter months. ECDC monitors influenza activity in Europe during the winter season and publishes its report weekly on the Flu News Europe website.

Update of the week

In week 16/2016, influenza activity continued to decrease in the WHO European Region. Most countries (92%) reported low intensity, with associated lower numbers of specimens being collected and fewer testing positive for influenza virus (22%) than in the previous week (35%). As is often seen late in the northern hemisphere’s influenza season, a shift towards circulation of type B influenza virus has occurred. Type B accounted for 75% of influenza virus detections from sentinel sources and 17–20% of hospitalised severe cases. Fewer cases of severe disease were reported than in previous weeks, although numbers varied between countries. Cases occurred mainly in people under the age of 65, and the great majority of those testing positive for influenza virus were infected by A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses.

Rubella - Multistate (EU) - Monitoring European outbreaks

Rubella, caused by the rubella virus and commonly known as German measles, is usually a mild and self-limiting disease which often passes unnoticed. The main reason for immunising against rubella is the high risk of congenital malformations associated with rubella infection during pregnancy. All EU Member States recommend vaccination against rubella with at least two doses of vaccine for both boys and girls. The vaccine is given at the same intervals as the measles vaccine as part of the MMR vaccine. No new outbreaks have been detected in the EU since June 2015.

Update of the week

No new outbreaks have been detected since the last monthly update.

Measles - Multistate (EU) - Monitoring European outbreaks

Measles, a highly transmissible vaccine-preventable disease, is still endemic in some EU countries where vaccination uptake remains below the level required to interrupt the transmission cycle. Elimination of measles requires consistent vaccination uptake above 95% with two doses of measles vaccine in all population groups, strong surveillance and effective outbreak control measures. In 2014, 16 EU/EEA countries were above the measles vaccination coverage target of 95% for the first dose, and six countries for the second dose. Fourteen countries have coverage rates of <95% for the first dose and 20 countries for the second dose.

Update of the week

On 26 April 2016, Public Health England (PHE) posted a press release regarding a measles outbreak in London.
The outbreak in Romania is still ongoing.