6.4.4. EU-wide coordination – the ECDC
The activities on surveillance, scientific advice and risk
assessment, as well as work on laboratory issues and sampling, have now become
the responsibility of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
inaugurated in Stockholm in May 2005.
In accordance with its founding Regulation EC N° 851/2004,
the ECDC plays a key role in providing scientific and technical support to
European and national decision-making on health security issues, the
verification and assessment of outbreaks and for collecting, processing and
transmitting information under the surveillance schemes and networks that it
The ECDC’s mission is to identify, assess and communicate
current and emerging threats to human health posed by infectious diseases. In
order to achieve this mission, the ECDC works in partnership with national
health protection bodies across Europe to strengthen and develop continent-wide
disease surveillance and early warning systems. By working with experts
throughout Europe, ECDC aims to pool Europe’s health knowledge, so as to
develop authoritative scientific opinions about the risks posed by current and
emerging infectious diseases.
The ECDC has a budget of € 16 million with 100 staff. The
Centre’s budget is expected to grow to over € 50 million by 2010 and its staff
to 300 over the coming years. It works as a matrix organisation to cover work
on several groups of diseases.
The ECDC is the hub of the co-ordination of the Community
Network for the Epidemiological Surveillance and Control. The ECDC assists the
Commission in running the operation of the Early Warning and Response System in
order to link the competent authorities of the Member States responsible for
official notification of outbreaks and measures as well as consultations and
co-ordination on measures taken or planned by the Member States. The new Centre
also provides scientific co-operation within the extensive network of experts
in the public health institutes of the EU, the US-CDC, Canada and other parts
of the world.
In future, the scope of the ECDC may be extended beyond
communicable diseases to tackle other major cross border health problems. An
evaluation of future EU needs in that respect was conducted in 2008, taking
into account the results achieved by the ECDC.