Programme coordinator: Herve Zeller
Programme officer: Eva Warns-Petit
Vector-borne diseases rely upon organisms, named vectors, such as mosquitoes, ticks or sandflies that have an active role in the transmission of a pathogen from one host to the other, and also, in a broader sense, upon animals such as rodents, bats or pets, acting as reservoirs/carrier of pathogens of concern to human beings.
An emerging (or re-emerging) infectious disease generally is a disease (i) that arises through evolution or change in existing pathogens, (ii) was previously unrecognised or (iii) is already known but spreads to new geographic areas, or new populations, or reappears after having been eradicated.
Many factors that may facilitate the introduction and establishment of disease vectors, reservoirs or pathogens in new geographic areas could lead to the emergence of a disease in the European Union (EU). These factors include international travel and trade, e.g. legal and illegal trade in animals and animal products, new agricultural practices and land-use patterns, socio-demographic evolution and climatic changes.
Objective and outcomes
The Programme on Emerging and Vector-borne Diseases (EVD) contributes to strengthening the EU-wide preparedness and response capabilities. It provides Member States with access to expertise, topical assessments of the risks these diseases pose to EU citizens, and a wide range of decision support tools with the latest scientific knowledge. Current objectives include:
- Define priorities for prevention and control, based on EU-wide risk assessments regarding emerging and vector-borne diseases;
- Assess the needs for vector surveillance and identify priorities for surveillance actions;
- Identify the scientific expertise and diagnostic laboratory capacity in Europe and ensure full support to outbreak assistance teams in terms of diagnostic capacity, updated scientific advice and surveillance activities;
- Provide epidemiologic updates on the current situation in Europe and fact sheets on threatening diseases and vectors;
- Reinforce links with Veterinary Public Health in the field of emerging and vector-borne zoonoses;
- Develop new strategies for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases through a coordinated approach on pest control issues at the EU level
Read the programmes multiannual strategy (2010-2013) here
Specific actions include:
- Coordination of a network on arthropod borne-vector diseases, which provides technical advice on ad hoc request, maps of surveillance activities and geographical distribution of the main vectors (ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies) in the EU. It also provides a strategic support to address considerations for ECDC future activities in the field of vector surveillance, in order to strengthen preparedness in the EU for vector-borne diseases
- Support of a network of laboratories for outbreak assistance to strengthen European capacities to detect emerging and vector-borne diseases. The network provides ECDC with technical advice and outbreak support on request, and performs external quality assessments (EQA) and public health microbiology training on these pathogens
- Review of the epidemiological knowledge on relevant emerging and vector-borne diseases like borreliosis, tick-borne encephalitis, Q-fever and rickettsiosis, and identification of gaps in terms of epidemiological surveillance and control
- Development of specific tools to improve risk assessment
- Provision of ad hoc scientific advice for threat investigation in collaboration with external expertise
The programme team works in close collaboration with the rich source of experts and expertise from various institutes, universities, research projects and public health networks across the EU and the relevant bodies of the European Commission, EU Member States, international organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) . Further, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) aims to actively involve European experts in international outbreak investigations as a way to maintain field expertise.
Contact the EVD programme: firstname.lastname@example.org