Disease programmes

The ECDC disease specific activities are organised within horizontal disease programmes. All of the disease programmes cover all of ECDC’s core activities, such as:

  • Epidemic intelligence
  • Health communication
  • Microbiology
  • Preparedness and response
  • Public health training
  • Scientific advice coordination
  • Surveillance


The general objectives are to:

  • provide scientific support to Member States and the Commission in the prevention and control of infectious diseases;
  • create reference points for EU/EEA countries that provides relevant expertise and information about trends in epidemiology, emerging threats and scientific advances;
  • ensure appropriate communication channels between, and to all, relevant stakeholders;
  • share of experience and best practices among Member States;
  • improve coordination, methods and capacities for surveillance;
  • contribute to training on surveillance, prevention and control;
  • contribute to strengthening the EU-wide preparedness and response capabilities; and
  • support and coordinate surveillance networks.

Expertise and partners

The different areas of expertise from within ECDC is complemented by essential contributions from many external experts, public health institutes, academic groups and specialised organisations in the European Union and EEA, and from further afield.
In Europe, partners include:

  • the European Commission,
  • the European Parliament and the Council,
  • International organisations such as the WHO Regional office for Europe, and WHO in general  in areas like pandemic preparedness and global surveillance where the lead is with WHO Headquarters in Geneva,
  • Other EU agencies such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA), 
  • the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),
  • European professional societies, and
  • the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER).

Furthermore, the programmes collaborate with several institutions beyond Europe, especially other national centres of disease control, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, China CDC, and a number of international scientific bodies.

Read more about the objectives, specific directions and deliverables of the disease programmes in the Strategic Multiannual Programme.