EU Laboratory Capability Monitoring System (EULabCap), 2021


European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. EU Laboratory Capability Monitoring System (EULabCap): Report on 2021 survey of EU/EEA country capabilities and capacities. Stockholm: ECDC; 2023.

Report on 2021 survey of EU/EEA country capabilities and capacities

Executive summary

The continued high response rate to the EULabCap survey highlights the commitment of EU/EEA countries to the assessments of EU/EEA- and country-level public health microbiology system capabilities and capacities. The result of the sixth EULabCap survey confirms that the EU/EEA, with an overall EULabCap index of 7.9/10, increased the capabilities and capacities of the public health microbiology systems to detect, characterise, and respond to infectious disease threats.

While EU/EEA public health microbiology services assessed in the EULabCap 2021 survey met most of the key requirements for communicable disease surveillance and response, results indicated that not all countries had balanced laboratory capabilities and capacities across activity areas. However, the reduced disparities in the EULabCap index between countries compared to earlier surveys indicate technical convergence and progression towards more modern methodologies for detection, surveillance and characterisation of pathogens and antimicrobial resistance and digital interoperability between clinical laboratory and public health information systems for disease surveillance and alert at national levels. Steady increases in country EULabCap indices over the
eight-year monitoring period (2013-2021) suggest that identified public health microbiology shortcomings are being addressed and that EU/EEA countries progress towards equitable balance of laboratory capacities and capabilities.

The COVID-19 pandemic put tremendous stress on the EU/EEA public health microbiology system. The updated regulations on serious cross-border threats to health in the EU and amended ECDC mandate put new and increased requirements on Member States and ECDC for effective surveillance and outbreak preparedness. In the light of this, it is likely that the EULabCap survey needs to be modified to accurately capture indicators/requirements relevant for future EU/EEA public health microbiology system.

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