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Eurosurveillance, Volume 7, Issue 30, 24 July 2003
Articles

Citation style for this article: Commission adopts proposal to create European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Euro Surveill. 2003;7(30):pii=2266. Available online: http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=2266

Commission adopts proposal to create European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Editorial team (eurowkly@hpa.org.uk), Eurosurveillance editorial office

The European Commission yesterday adopted a proposal to create a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) (1).

The centre will have a small core staff and an extended network of contacts in member states' public health institutes and academia. Governance of the ECDC will be modelled on similar independent European Union agencies, such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). By pooling expertise around Europe, the ECDC will be able to:

provide authoritative scientific advice on serious health threats;
recommend control measures;
allow quick mobilisation of intervention teams and thus enable a rapid and effective EU-wide response.

Following approval by the European Parliament and the Council, the ECDC could be operational as an independent European agency by 2005.

The centre is an important part of the longer term response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and other public health threats (2). During the SARS outbreak, the EU and member states had a system to monitor the spread of the SARS virus, but no system for advising or deciding on measures to contain it.

The core of this network is already in place. Europe’s communicable disease network (http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_threats/com/comm_diseases_networks_en.htm), of which Eurosurveillance is a member, already links experts monitoring specific diseases and specific issues (3). ECDC will also take over the work on monitoring and preparedness planning against bioterrorist attacks that has been pursued by the EU’s Health Security Task Force (4).

It will also coordinate as appropriate with relevant EU agencies, such as the EFSA, and with other alert systems, such as those run by the World Health Organization (WHO). Providing scientific assessments and technical support for public health policies will be a core task of the centre. Web pages on the ECDC are available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_overview/strategy/ecdc/ecdc_en.htm.

References:
  1. European Commission. Strengthening Europe's defences against health threats: Commission proposes European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Press release IP/03/1091, 23 July 2003. (http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/03/1091|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=) [accessed 24 July 2003]
  2. Eurosurveillance. European Centre is an important part of longer term response to SARS and similar threats. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2003; 7 (18): 01/05/2003. (http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2003/030501.asp) [accessed 24 July 2003]
  3. European Commission. Communicable Diseases - European networks. Press release MEMO/03/155, 23 July 2003. (http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=MEMO/03/155|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=) [accessed 24 July 2003]
  4. Tegnell A, van Loock F, Hendriks J, Baka A, Vittozzi L. BICHAT: an EU initiative to improve preparedness and response to bioterrorism. Eurosurveillance Weekly 2002;6 (28): 11/07/2002 (http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ew/2002/020711.asp)

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