New ECDC tools: Strengthening preparedness and surveillance in migrant reception centres


​As in other institutional settings, migrant reception/detention centres face specific challenges in preventing and controlling communicable disease transmission. In order to support EU/EEA Member States in improving preparedness and syndromic surveillance at migrant hosting sites, ECDC is launching two handbooks and related assessment tools.

An ECDC ‘Preparedness checklist tool’ is being launched to support EU/EEA public health authorities in the assessment of the capacity for communicable disease prevention and control at migrant reception/detention centres hosting migrants for the medium-term, both in routine situations and in the context of sudden increased influxes of migrants. The tool helps to identify gaps and set priorities for development. It is accompanied by a handbook that provides guidance on how to use it and describes the scientific basis for the tool.

This tool is a prototype in Microsoft Excel. It comes with pre-designed indicators and embedded automated analysis functions. Both the tool and the related handbook have been designed to be easily adaptable to the requirements of Member States.

A handbook on implementing syndromic surveillance and a related thresholds calculation tool is also being launched. Syndromic surveillance allows for prompt detection (prior to laboratory confirmation) of a case of disease or an outbreak in order to take appropriate public health action. The syndromic surveillance handbook aims to assist public health authorities in developing protocols that complement routine surveillance in migrant centres. It provides examples and suggested key phases of syndromic surveillance implementation, based on scientific evidence and field experience collected from peer-reviewed literature and other authoritative reports, as well as expert feedback.

The syndromic surveillance handbook is complemented by a tool that provides examples to calculate the thresholds for number of cases, incidence and proportional morbidity according to the methodology described in the handbook for each particular setting and situation.

These handbooks and tools are part of the ECDC project ‘Preparedness for disease control and screening during sudden influxes of irregular migrants’.

Access the handbooks and related tools

Handbook on using the ECDC preparedness checklist tool tostrengthen preparedness against communicable disease outbreaks at migrant reception/detentioncentres

Preparedness checklist tool

Handbook on implementing syndromic surveillance in migrantreception/detention centres and other refugee settings

Thresholds calculation tool

More information

Visit our webpages on migrant health

Expert Opinion on the public health needs of irregular migrants, refugees or asylumseekers across the EU's southern and south-eastern borders