The Centre was established by European Parliament and Council Regulation 851/2004 of 21 April 2004. It became operational on 20 May 2005.
Its mission is to help strengthen Europe’s defences against infectious diseases, such as influenza, SARS and HIV/AIDS. It has a small core staff but an extended network of partners across the EU and the EEA/EFTA Member States. The ECDC works in partnership with national health protection bodies to strengthen and develop continent-wide disease surveillance and early warning systems. Through such collaboration the ECDC pools Europe’s health knowledge, in order to develop authoritative scientific opinions on risks posed by new and emerging infectious diseases.
The centre’s tasks include:
Enhancing the capacity of the Community and the Member States individually to protect human health through the prevention and control of human disease;
acting on its own initiative when outbreaks of contagious illnesses of unknown origin are threatening the Community;
Ensuring complementary and coherent action in the field of public health by bridging together the tasks and the responsibilities of the Member States, the EU Institutions and the relevant International Organisations.
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