Editorial: Northern Europe united against infectious diseases

  Published: 05.05.04 Updated: 07.10.2005 09:41:35


EpiNorth is proud to complete its third volume with this special issue on the epidemiological situation in Northern Europe. Led by colleagues at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, epidemiologists from the surveillance centres of ten countries and eight territories of the Russian Federation have joined forces to give a comprehensive overview of the surveillance and control of several infectious diseases of major public health importance in Northern Europe.

This achievement has been made possible by the longstanding collaboration between these centres. The governments and several multinational bodies, notably the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Council of the Baltic Sea States and the Barents Regional Council, have invested in this collaboration for many years.

Northern Europe includes EU member states (Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Finland), semi-member states (Norway and Iceland), accession states (Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) and a large non-member state (Russian Federation). The cross-border collaboration that has been achieved in this region may set an example for other regions at the edges of the European Union.

Now is the time to broaden the collaboration. We are ready to expand from surveillance, early warning systems and training to joint outbreak investigations and joint research. The article by Blystad and co-workers opens the door to several research areas. Are the differences between countries true? If so, what are the causes and what can we do about it?

Or rather, what shall we do about it? Several of the differences are simply too large. We need to deal with them. Now. Together.

Preben Aavitsland

Associated Editor