Overseas infectious diseases of priority concern

This section provides an overview of exotic, infectious diseases (of priority concern to New Zealand) detected overseas. It covers three major categories of disease (for background  see 'Which exotic diseases are we most worried about?').

On this page

Two diseases were alerted as a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’, 2011-15
Four types of serious respiratory virus were detected in the world, 2011-15
Increasing spread of mosquito-borne diseases in the world, 2011-15
View overseas outbreak maps

Two diseases alerted as ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’, 2011-15

Polio and Ebola Virus Disease were each classified as a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) during 2014 and 2015 [1]. There were no alerts between 2011 and 2013.

Four types of serious respiratory virus were detected in the world, 2011-15

Outbreaks in Asia included human cases of Bird Flu (flu A(H5N1) in 2011-2013, flu A(H7N9) in 2013-2015) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (2012-2015) [1]. None of these diseases were reported in the Pacific region.

Increasing spread of mosquito-borne diseases in the world, 2011-15

The WHO reported outbreak alerts for six mosquito-borne diseases, 2011-15 [1]:

Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Rift Valley Fever, Yellow Fever, Zika, and West Nile Virus.

There was spread of some of these diseases to countries in Europe, Africa and South America.

Of particular concern, Zika virus was detected to have spread to ten countries in South America in 2015. This was linked to an increase in a birth defect, microcephaly (small head) in Brazil amongst pregnant women who had been infected with the virus. As a result Zika-associated birth defects and other neurological (nervous system) disorders became a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ in 2016.

View overseas outbreak maps

A map of WHO alerts for outbreaks of overseas diseases (of priority concern to New Zealand, as listed above) can be viewed here. Please note, these only represent new disease outbreak alerts reported by the WHO. They do not show countries  where diseases already existed (e.g. where polio is established as an ongoing (endemic) problem within a country) and they do not show when an outbreak finished.

A separate more detailed map of outbreaks in the Pacific will be accessible here soon.

References

1. World Health Organization. Global Alert Response (GAR). (Accessed Jan 2016). Available from: http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/en/

2. Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network. Epidemic and emerging disease alerts in the Pacific Region. Pacific Community (SPC), Pacific Public Health Surveillance Network. (Accessed March 2016, historical records via PacNet). Available at: www.pphsn.net

3. Roth A, Mercier A, Lepers C, Hoy D, Duituturaga S, Benyon E, et al. 2014. Concurrent outbreaks of dengue, chikungunya and zika virus infections - an unprecedented epidemic wave of mosquito-borne viruses in the Pacific 2012-2014. Euro Surveill 19(41):pii: 20929