APH 1997, 55, 341-349:

European contribution in the fight against communicable diseases: contributions and limits of common action.

L. Chambaud

Keywords: Europe, surveillance, communicable diseases, epidemic

Several initiatives of European co-ordination are being further sustained:
- on a legal level, the development of a network for surveillance and control of communicable diseases is being proposed;
- numerous projects for further co-ordination of pathogen-related surveillance are financed by the Commission: salmonellosis, travelassociated legionellosis, tuberculosis, hepatitis C and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (C.J.D.);
- other projects have a more horizontal approach and should be the basis on which a common culture can be built: the Eurosurveillance monthly bulletin, the weekly electronic bulletin, the projects for exchanging information and data between administrations (I.D.A.), the EPIET training programme, etc.;
- some initiatives of the Commission will establish a real dataset with all european resources and expertise in the field of communicable diseases.

The C.JD.-crisis caused a change in the way the Commission and member states react to and intervene in a crisis in public health. The shock wave still crosses the Commission services.  We have to wait and see what consequences it will have on the capacity of the Commission to recognize an alert, to respond with epidemiologic and microbiologic investigations and adequate control measures. The possibilities depend on the structures of the member states.  The debate is open.