EID Weekly Updates:
Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases, Region of the Americas
Vol. 1, No. 1—10 July 2003
The last reported probable case in Taiwan, and in the world was detected and isolated on 15 June. Two consecutive 10-day incubation periods have now passed with no further cases detected. This achievement means that all know chains of person-to-person transmission of the SARS virus have now been broken. On July 5th, WHO has removed Taiwan from the list of areas with recent local transmission of SARS. Nevertheless, WHO continues to receive rumors of possible cases, which indicates that surveillance systems are working well. To date, all recently reported possible cases have been aggressively investigated and determined to have other causes.
Colombia: Update on the Outbreak of Jungle Yellow Fever in the Department of Norte de Santander
Up to epidemiological week (EW) 28 of 2003, Colombia reported to PAHO 27 cases of jungle yellow fever (JYF), with a case fatality rate of 63%. Nine cases occurred in the first seven epidemiological weeks in the Departments of Guaviare (1), Casanare (2), Meta (1) and Norte de Santander (5). The cases reported by the Department of Norte de Santander belong to the same outbreak that occurred in the Venezuelan-Colombian border early this year that was controlled after coordinated mass vaccination carried out by both countries.
Starting in EW 23, a resurgence of JYF has been detected in the Department of Norte de Santander, affecting the counties of Convención, Tibu, El Carmen and El Tarra. Up to EW 28, a total of 18 confirmed cases have been identified. All but one case have occurred in adult males ranging from 13 to 43 years of age. The case fatality rate is 61%.
The Ministry of Health of Colombia is taking the necessary measures to avert the outbreak by intensifying immunization and strengthening surveillance in the affected and neighboring counties. The Venezuelan authorities are aware of the situation and carrying out similar actions to prevent cases. The local PAHO offices are providing the necessary support.
On February, one case of human VEE was reported to national authorities in Colombia, involving a soldier who had been in the Yondó province (Department of Antioquia). As a result, subsequent investigations and active surveillance were conducted on epidemiological week 20. Eight cases were found, seven of which were IgG positive (past contact with the virus) and one that was positive (current contact with the virus). On 18 June, a sentinel center was created in Yandó in order to maintain active surveillance. (Source: Boletín Epidemiológico Nacional: Sem Epid. 25. Instituto Nacional de Salud, Bogotá, Colombia).
On 7 July, the CDC (via its Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases) confirmed the first report of human West Nile Virus encephalitis for 2003, which occurred in South Carolina. On 9 July, one additional case was reported in Texas. A number of suspected cases are pending confirmation in Canada (New Brunswick) and the United States.