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ECDC has published a rapid risk assessment on the epidemiological situation of West Nile virus infection in the European Union.
In the ongoing 2011 West Nile virus transmission season, cases have been reported from newly affected geographical areas. 86 human cases of West Nile fever have been reported in the EU, with 74 cases in Greece, eight in Romania, and four cases in Italy. In the neighbouring countries, 125 cases have been declared.
West Nile virus transmission is now established in several European countries and its further spread is expected in the coming years. Multi-sectoral collaboration and intensified surveillance made it possible to detect West Nile virus in new areas and identify WNV lineage 1 and lineage 2, which are now both circulating in Europe.
EU Member States are responding to this situation with the implementation of preventive measures, particularly the safeguarding of blood supplies. In addition, efforts should be made to further strengthen laboratory capacity for reliable WN diagnosis, fostering collaboration between public health and veterinary authorities and to increase our current knowledge of the disease.
The rapid risk assessment is available here. [Source: ECDC]
Given the complexity of zoonotic disease emergence in an increasingly globalized world, effective strategies for reducing future threats must be identified. Lessons learned from past experiences controlling diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), and pandemic (H1N1) 2009, indicate that new paradigms are needed for early detection, prevention, and control to reduce persistent global threats from influenza and other emerging zoonotic diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) organised a joint scientific consultation in Verona, Italy (27-29 April 2010) entitled “FAO-OIE-WHO Joint Scientific Consultation on Influenza and Other Emerging Zoonotic Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface”. This document is a summary of the consultation. It provides examples of emerged or emerging zoonotic viral diseases. It describes commonalities across diseases and ideas for new approaches and suggests steps towards translating meeting outcomes into policy. [Source: FAO]