Summary of the epidemiological situation of notifiable diseases (MDO) in Wallonia

Summary of the epidemiological situation of notifiable diseases (MDO) in Wallonia
Summary of the epidemiological situation of notifiable diseases (MDO) in Wallonia

The first quarter of 2024 was marked by notable developments concerning notifiable diseases (MDO) in Wallonia. The most reported pathologies are: whooping cough, measles, active tuberculosis, scabies in the community and invasive group A streptococcal infection (IIGAS). For the first two diseases, the increase in the number of declarations was very significant

Scabies in a collective environment

Scabies has been on the list of notifiable diseases in Wallonia since November 7, 2023. It must be declared on Trace in Wal if one of the following two situations is encountered in a community: Two or more cases of scabies in an interval six weeks, provided there is an epidemiological link between them (excluding family cases); At least one case of complicated scabies (either profuse or hyperkeratotic). Scabies has been particularly prevalent in collective settings such as schools, universities and nurseries. This context has favored epidemics that have been difficult to control, highlighting the importance of strengthening preventive measures and control in these risky environments. A link for a webinar for health professionals will be sent in the coming weeks by the AVIQ.

Tuberculosis: 2022 report and evolution in 2024

The publication of the 2022 tuberculosis report indicates a high incidence in the large cities of Wallonia, with a majority of cases among people of foreign nationality and applicants for international protection. In 2022, Wallonia recorded 209 cases, with higher incidence in provinces such as Luxembourg and Namur, and cities such as Liège and Charleroi. Of 459 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis confirmed by culture at the national level (2021 cohort), 81% were considered cured one year after the start of treatment (percentage slightly higher than that of Wallonia, 77%). The death rate remains high (Belgium: 7.4%; Wallonia: 8.1%). Note that the figures concerning tuberculosis are only indicative because the monitoring and prevention of this disease in Wallonia have been delegated to FARES.

Measles: continued increase

Measles shows a sustained increase in recorded cases, mainly among unvaccinated or insufficiently vaccinated people. This increase is also influenced by imported cases. According to the data recorded in 2024, the number
cases of measles in Wallonia continue to increase with 20 cases reported as of 03/31/2024 (15 confirmed and 5 suspected). Namur is the province having recorded the highest number of cases (11 cases, 55%). Eleven of the 15 confirmed cases belonged to two family households.

Whooping cough: increasing trend

Whooping cough continues to show a marked increase in cases, with 495 cases recorded in the first quarter of 2024, representing a significant increase compared to previous years. Children and adolescents are the most affected, with a significant number of cases requiring hospitalization. High vaccination coverage among infants (primary vaccination), children aged 5-6 years (booster), adolescents (booster) and pregnant women (between 24 and 32 weeks of pregnancy) must be ensured.

Invasive group A streptococcal infections (IGASI)

Although the number of confirmed IIGAS cases has decreased compared to 2023, the 45 cases recorded indicate a persistent endemicity of this disease in Wallonia. The situation requires continued vigilance and sustained efforts to control this infection. Most cases (94%, 15 of 16 cases) were hospitalized (including 11 in intensive care), no deaths were reported.

Invasive meningococcal infections

During the winter period of 2024, 18 cases of invasive meningococcal infections were recorded, reflecting a classic seasonal upsurge in this potentially fatal disease.

The increase in declarations of most MDOs in the first quarter of 2024 in Wallonia calls for continued and reinforced action on the part of health professionals. It is imperative to improve prevention, surveillance and rapid response strategies to epidemics to better protect vulnerable populations. A webinar will be organized soon to discuss these issues and recall good practices for the management of these diseases.

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