Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Coming Soon: A European Centre for Disease Control-Of Some Kind. (News)

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Coming Soon: A European Centre for Disease Control-Of Some Kind. (News)

Article excerpt

On 2 June, European health ministers "welcomed in principle" the idea of setting up a Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the European Community by 2005. The European Commission should make a decision on the proposal on 18 July, but what such a centre should amount to in practice has not vet been agreed.

The European Health Commissioner, David Byrne, has proposed a surveillance structure similar to the Institut national de veille sanitaire for France (http://www.eurosurveillance. org/ew/2002/021003.asp). At the European Council meeting that endorsed the idea, Commissioner Byrne said: "The Centre should analyse and assess risks to human health from communicable diseases and other health threats. It should provide expert advice to EU policy makers on matters concerning their management, and enhance the capacity of the European Union and its Member States to protect human health through prevention and control measures." The components he lists as examples include "increased joint investigative capacity", "reinforced laboratory networking", and "better communication with the public", all of which could be done in cyberspace.

Michel Tibayrenc, who made his case in the Bulletin for such a centre 18 months ago (2001;79:1094), thinks there also needs to be a building, with a staff, like at the CDC in Atlanta, USA. "It is the only way the Europeans can reach the critical sizes the Americans can afford for certain kinds of essential research," he told the Bulletin. …

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