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Network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases
The prevention of communicable diseases is one of the European Union’s (EU) priorities which require Member States to act in a global and coordinated way. This Decision therefore establishes a network which, with the European Commission’s help, promotes cooperation and coordination between the Member States in order to improve the prevention and control of communicable diseases.
Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 1998 setting up a network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of communicable diseases in the Community [see amending acts].
The network for epidemiological surveillance and control concerns the following communicable diseases:
- diseases preventable by vaccination;
- sexually transmitted diseases;
- viral hepatitis;
- food-borne diseases;
- water-borne diseases and diseases of environmental origin;
- nosocomial infections;
- other diseases transmitted by non-conventional agents;
- communicable diseases which may lead to emergencies of international concern, as described in Annex 2 of the International Health Regulations;
- vector-borne diseases;
- zoonotic diseases;
- other communicable diseases of public health importance, including deliberately released diseases.
Role of the network
This network * is to be used for:
- the epidemiological surveillance * of communicable diseases. The epidemiological surveillance network is to be formed by bringing into permanent communication with one another the European Commission and those structures that, at the level of each Member State, are responsible for collecting information on epidemiological surveillance and coordinating control measures. These structures are to be designated by the Member States within six months of the entry into force of this Decision;
- setting up an early warning and response system for the prevention and control of communicable diseases *, the network being formed by bringing into permanent communication with one another the Commission and the health authorities of each Member State responsible for determining measures that may be necessary for protecting public health.
The Commission will coordinate the network in cooperation with the Member States. It will be assisted by a committee composed of representatives of the Member States and chaired by the representative of the Commission.
Measures to be taken
The European Commission determines certain elements which aim at ensuring the effective operation of the network with regard to epidemiological surveillance and to achieving uniform information. These include:
- the communicable diseases that are to be covered by the Community network and the selection criteria for these diseases;
- the case definitions, particularly the clinical and microbiological characteristics of the agent responsible;
- the nature and type of the data and information to be collected and passed on by the national structures;
- the epidemiological and microbiological surveillance methods;
- the guidelines on the protective measures to be taken, particularly at external borders, and above all in emergency situations;
- information guidelines and good practice guides;
- the technical means and the procedures by which the data will be disseminated and analysed.
Information to be passed on by the national structures
Each national structure and/or authority must communicate to the network and to the Commission:
- the information and control measures relating to communicable diseases covered by the Decision;
- any useful information concerning the progression of an epidemic situation or epidemics that are unusual or of unknown origin in the Member State concerned;
- any information for evaluation that will aid cooperation between Member States for the purpose of preventing and controlling communicable diseases.
Coordination of activities
Using the network, Members States must:
- consult each other, in conjunction with the Commission, for the purpose of coordinating their activity to prevent and control communicable diseases;
- notify the other Member States and the Commission in advance when considering the adoption of control measures for communicable diseases;
- notify the other Member States and the Commission as soon as possible when urgent control measures need to be adopted to deal with emerging or resurgent communicable diseases.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Decision No 2119/98/EC||
OJ L 268 of 3.10.1998
|Amending Act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 1882/2003||
OJ L 284 of 31.10.2003
|Regulation (EC) No 596/2009||
OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009
Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 1882/2003 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.
- Communicable Diseases, Directorate-General for Health and Consumers