Disease and laboratory networks

There are 17 operational disease networks coordinated by the ECDC Disease Programmes. As part of these networks, ECDC supports several sub-networks or consortia of public health microbiology laboratories in EU Member States, to enhance capabilities and strengthen capacity for pathogen detection, characterisation and surveillance of specific diseases and antimicrobial resistance. These sub-networks of public health microbiology laboratories contribute and support with essential information to integrate epidemiological and microbiological surveillance of the EU notifiable communicable diseases listed in Decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health.

ECDC supports laboratory subnetworks in Europe by coordinating network collaboration activities, external quality assessments (EQA), training schemes, and assessment of the accuracy or effectiveness of a new microbiological methods for the detection or characterisation of pathogen(s) of importance to public health. Services for detection and/or further characterisation of pathogens, including testing of new technologies, emerging disease detection or agent identification/diagnostic confirmation support and typing support for multi-country outbreak investigations, are provided within networks.

Some ECDC Disease Programmes operate a single laboratory subnetwork embracing a single or multiple pathogens, while others run several subnetworks. ECDC coordinates the disease network activities with the support of a coordination committee consisting of representatives from the EU Member States. The variation in scope and organisation of the outsourced microbiology support activities reflect the diagnostic complexity and diverse surveillance or epidemic preparedness needs for the various pathogens.

Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections

Healthcare-associated Infections Surveillance Network (HAI-Net)

Outsourced microbiological support to hospital-based surveillance of CDI aims to increase the capacity of laboratories in EU/EEA Member States to perform diagnostic practices with high diagnostic accuracy and acquire comparable typing data from C. difficile isolates.

Emerging and vector-borne diseases

Food- and waterborne diseases, zoonoses

European Food- and Waterborne Diseases and Zoonoses Network (FWD-Net)

The FWD-Net network advises ECDC and contributes to strengthening surveillance and prevention of 21 food- and waterborne diseases and zoonoses in the EU/EEA, in close collaboration with EFSA, WHO and global public health partners. Activities include microbiology capacity building, EQA schemes and harmonization of laboratory-based surveillance.

HIV, STI and blood-borne viruses

European Network for STI Surveillance

The European Network for sexually transmitted infections (STI) Surveillance aims to improve collaboration, build capacity and facilitate robust dissemination of information on STI to inform public health policy and planning across Europe.

European Network for HIV/AIDS Surveillance

HIV/AIDS surveillance in Europe is jointly coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, collecting data from all 53 countries in the European region.

European Gonococcal Antimicrobial Surveillance Programme (Euro-GASP)

The Euro-GASP network carries out sentinel surveillance of gonococcal antimicrobial resistance in the EU/EEA and is strengthening capacity for gonococcal culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing through laboratory training and EQA schemes. In addition the network performs molecular typing of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Respiratory tract infections

European Reference Laboratory Network for Human Influenza (ERLI-Net)

The ERLI-Net sub-network of reference laboratories of the European Influenza Surveillance Network carries out virological surveillance of human influenza in the EU/EEA through the EISN timely reporting mechanism and strengthening laboratory capacity for influenza virus detection, antiviral susceptibility testing and typing.

European Tuberculosis Surveillance Network

The network aims to maintain and further develop surveillance activities and thereby contribute to the international progress both in the TB epidemiology and laboratory fields.

Vaccine-preventable diseases and invasive bacterial infections

European Diphtheria Surveillance Network (EDSN)

The Diphtheria-LabNet aims to assess and improve laboratory performance through standardised and appropriate methods for laboratory diagnosis of diphtheria as to ensure accurate and comparative diphtheria surveillance across Europe. The network also aims to expand knowledge on serological immunity procedures for detecting diphtheria antitoxin antibodies.

EUVAC.Net

EUVAC.NET was a European surveillance network for selected vaccine-preventable diseases hosted at the Staten Serum Institute (SSI), Denmark. In September 2011, the responsibilities of EUVAC.NET were transferred to ECDC.

EU/EEA National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups (NITAG) collaboration

The aim of this collaboration is to develop an EU/EEA-wide system for the exchange of existing and new scientific evidence and the joint generation of up-to-date scientific evidence, if possible in systematic literature reviews using evidence-based methodology, on public health outcomes on vaccines authorised in the EU and their use in immunisation programmes.