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As part of the risk assessment and strategic planning related to the emergence of avian influenza A(H7N9) in China the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has considered two major scenarios. The current situation is the one of a zoonotic epidemic (Scenario A) in which the virus might be transmitted sporadically to humans in close contact with an animal reservoir. The second scenario is the movement towards efficient human to human transmission (a pandemic Scenario B). We identified epidemiological events within the different scenarios that would trigger a new risk assessment and a review of the response activities to implement in the European Union (EU). Further, we identified the surveillance activities needed to detect these events. The EU should prepare for importation of isolated human cases infected in the affected area, though this event would not change the level of public health risk. Awareness among clinicians and local public health authorities, combined with nationally available testing, will be crucial. A 'one health' surveillance strategy is needed to detect extension of the infection towards Europe. The emergence of a novel reassortant influenza A(H7N9) underlines that pandemic preparedness remains important for Europe. .


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