ECDC hosts refresher training on epidemic intelligence


From 15 to 16 February, ECDC hosted a refresher training on epidemic intelligence organised under the EU Initiative on Health Security.

The course brought together 16 public health professionals from Georgia, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine (1), and Tunisia. It was specifically designed for public health professionals who had already attended one of ECDC’s courses on epidemic intelligence (EI) and rapid risk assessment.

The participants actively engaged in various discussions on EI steps and tools used for the detection, filtering, validation, and assessment of public health threats related to communicable diseases and how to apply EI principles in practice.

The course provided an opportunity for the participants to gain insight into the day-to-day EI activities and to meet members of ECDC’s Epidemic Intelligence team, who described the different EI tools and practices used at ECDC, including:

  • Collection, collation and storage of information;
  • Screening, filtering, validation, analysis, and communication;
  • Addressing knowledge gaps and information sharing procedures;
  • EI Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs);
  • Monitoring of long-term threats and mass gatherings; and
  • Communicating EI findings, following the ECDC daily Round Table meeting’s format.

Representatives from partner countries shared their own national experiences with epidemic intelligence practices, lessons learned, and actions planned for the future.

The training included presentations and practical exercises in plenary and small groups. The first day was dedicated to EI methodology and the daily EI procedures used at ECDC. These were put into practice through group exercises, which involved the screening of open sources (e.g. Epidemic Intelligence from Open Sources), the selection of items of interest applying filtering criteria, and the validation and description of detected signal/event following the structure of the daily Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR).

The second day continued to focus on ECDC EI experiences and practices, including the agency’s work on combining event- and indicator-based surveillance during the mpox emergency. The participants visited the agency’s Emergency Operations Centre and learned about ECDC’s Public Health Emergency activation steps.

Overall, the training constituted a good opportunity to further develop and integrate the growing international epidemic intelligence community in the EU’s neighbourhood regions.

The EU Initiative on Health Security

The EU Initiative on Health Security is a five-year programme (2020–2025) aimed at enhancing public health preparedness and response capacities of the European Union enlargement and the European Neighbourhood partner countries.

(1) This designation shall not be construed as recognition of a State of Palestine and is without prejudice to the individual positions of the Member States on this issue.