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The 2013–2016 Ebola epidemic in West Africa challenged traditional international mechanisms for public health team mobilisation to control outbreaks. Consequently, in February 2016, the European Union (EU) launched the European Medical Corps (EMC), a mechanism developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) to rapidly deploy teams and equipment in response to public health emergencies inside and outside the EU. Public Health Teams (PHTs), a component of the EMC, consist of experts in communicable disease prevention and control from participating countries and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), to support affected countries and WHO in risk assessment and outbreak response. The European Commission’s Directorate-General European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations and Directorate-General Health and Food Safety, and ECDC, plan and support deployments. The first EMC-PHT deployment took place in May 2016, with a team sent to Angola for a yellow fever outbreak. The aims were to evaluate transmission risks to local populations and EU citizens in Angola, the risk of regional spread and importation into the EU, and to advise Angolan and EU authorities on control measures. International actors should gain awareness of the EMC, its response capacities and the means for requesting assistance.


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