EUGLOREH project
THE STATUS OF HEALTH IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
TOWARDS A HEALTHIER EUROPE

FULL REPORT

PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS

6. MAIN COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND RELATED TIME-TRENDS: PREVALENCE, INCIDENCE AND MORTALITY

6.4. Control tools and policies

6.4.2. Early warning

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6.4.2. Early warning

 

The second pillar of the network is an early warning and response system (EWRS) to alert public health authorities in Member States and the Commission on outbreaks with greater than national dimensions, for which a co-ordinated EU action may be required (Commission Decision 2000/57/EC).

 

In order to ensure a rapid and effective response by the EU to events (including emergencies) related to communicable diseases, the Commission has put in place an early warning and response system (EWRS). EWRS is a web-based system linking the Commission, the public health authorities in Member States responsible for measures to control communicable diseases and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). EEA Countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) are also linked to the system.

 

Decision 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, and Decision 2000/57/EC regulate the procedure for reporting and for the functioning of the system. Under these decisions, Member States should inform about events likely to affect public health at EU-level. Therefore, the EWRS is frequently used for notification of outbreaks, exchange of information and discussion about the coordination of measures among players. The EWRS has been successfully used in a number of events such as SARS, avian influenza in humans and other major communicable diseases.

 

The ECDC is in charge of providing scientific advice and risk assessment concerning messages received through the EWRS. Starting from 2007, the Centre has also been supporting the Commission by operating the IT tool.

To increase the comparability of the data from the different Member States an important Commission decision was taken on 19 March 2002. This decision 2002/253/EC lays down case definitions for reporting communicable diseases to the Community network.