Surveillance report Open Access
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In a rapidly changing environment, national institutions in charge of health security can no longer rely only on traditional disease reporting mechanisms that are not designed to recognise emergence of new hazards. Epidemic intelligence provides a conceptual framework within which countries may adapt their public health surveillance system to meet new challenges. Epidemic intelligence (EI) encompasses all activities related to early identification of potential health hazards, their verification, assessment and investigation in order to recommend public health control measures. EI integrates both an indicator-based and an event-based component. ‘Indicator-based component’ refers to structured data collected through routine surveillance systems. ‘Event-based component’ refers to unstructured data gathered from sources of intelligence of any nature. All EU member states have long-established disease surveillance systems that provide proper indicator-based surveillance. For most countries, the challenge lies now in developing and structuring the event-based component of EI within national institution in charge of public health surveillance. In May 2006, the European Union member states committed to comply with provisions of the revised International Health Regulations (IHR(2005)) considered relevant to the risk posed by avian and potential human pandemic influenza. This provides for the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) with an opportunity to guide member states in developing and/or strengthening their national EI , in addition to the ECDC’s task of developing an EI system for the EU.


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