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Within the widening European Union, large-scale movements of people, animals and food-products increasingly contribute to the potential for spread of communicable diseases. The EU was given a mandate for public health action only in 1992, under the Treaty of European Union ("Maastricht Treaty"), which was broadened in the 1997 with the Treaty of Amsterdam. While all EU countries have statutory requirements for notifying communicable diseases, national and regional communicable disease surveillance practices vary considerably (1). The Network Committee (NC) for the Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases in the EU was established in 1998 to harmonise these activities.


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