Surveillance report Open Access
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Under Decision 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, a network for epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the Community was set up in 1998. One pillar of Decision 2119/98/EC is the early warning and response system (EWRS). The main objective of the network is to establish permanent communication between European Union (EU) Member States’ public health authorities, which are responsible for determining the measures required to control communicable disease-related events. Since 1998, a web based informatics tool has been developed in order to allow information to be shared between the relevant public health authorities. Between 1998 and December 2005, a total of 583 messages were circulated through the EWRS, notifying 396 events. The information shared through the system helped to coordinate public health measures in the EU. However, only few events prompted specific measures at Community level and most of them were controlled with public health measures applied at national level. Major events (such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and the results of simulation exercises prompted the Commission to upgrade the informatics system on the basis of user needs. Since 1 May 2004 the 10 newest Member States have provided information under the current legislation and since April 2005 the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is part of the system. Future developments will include a link between the existing EWRS and the communication platform currently developed by the ECDC.


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