Eurosurveillance: a European forum on communicable disease surveillance and control

  Published: 19.08.04 Updated: 19.08.2004 10:42:56
Eurosurveillance ( publishes information on the prevention and control of communicable diseases in Europe, using two complementary publications; Eurosurveillance Weekly, a fast-track information system for outbreak early warnings, and Eurosurveillance Monthly, a more in-depth bulletin for outbreak investigation reports and regional roundups. The editorial board consists of a representative from each member state plus Norway and Estonia. Both bulletins are produced by an editorial team based at the national centres for public health in London and Paris. The project is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate-General Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO).

A weekly bulletin for early warnings

Eurosurveillance Weekly is an internet bulletin for early and preliminary reports of communicable disease outbreaks. It is integral to the European Commission’s early warning and response mechanism, set up to provide the health authorities of the European Union’s member states and the Commission with an efficient and rapid exchange of information on potential epidemics and preventive measures. It provides a tool to respond immediately to outbreaks and report on imported health hazards. Contributions are often turned around in less than 24 hours and the bulletin can be published at any time, providing a platform for the timely reporting of urgent and important news. In April 2002, for example, Eurosurveillance Weekly published a special issue to report on an outbreak of acute respiratory infection with myocarditis and pericarditis in Greece. In 2001, the bulletin acted as an alert system when it published several articles on an outbreak of S. Typhimurium DT104 associated with contaminated batches of a sesame seed product in Sweden, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway. In 2000, it had a key role in reporting an international outbreak of severe illness among injecting drug users (IDUs) in Europe. A fatal case of anthrax in an IDU in Norway was reported in the weekly and this alerted health authorities in Ireland and the United Kingdom, who had been notified of several unexplained deaths among IDUs in their own countries.

A monthly regional overview of infectious disease

Eurosurveillance Monthly includes original articles that analyse data from national and European communicable diseases surveillance programmes, compare national public health policies and present conclusions of outbreak investigation reports. In addition, it provides a list of articles published in the national epidemiological bulletins of EU member states. Articles published in Eurosurveillance Monthly are peer-reviewed and indexed by Medline. The bulletin is printed in English and French, and distributed to about 10 000 subscribers. Translations in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish are available online (with an average of 19 000 user sessions/month). Furthermore, the editorial team has been working on the development of translations in Russian to enlarge the readership of the bulletin and in March 2001, a representative from Estonia, Dr Kuulo Kutsar (also Chief Editor of Epinorth), joined the Eurosurveillance editorial board. This project development reflects the growing mutual interest from western and eastern European countries in increasing the exchange of public health information and experiences. After the terrorist attacks in New York in September 2001, Eurosurveillance Weekly and Monthly published public health guidance for the management of anthrax cases and guidelines on the deliberate release of other infectious agents, in order to contribute to bioterrorism preparedness in Europe.

A European project to promote regional information exchange

Articles published in the two bulletins are reproduced regularly in national surveillance bulletins around Europe and by various electronic media aimed at public health professionals, such as the Morbidity and Mortality Report and ProMED, which greatly increases the bulletins’ readership.
Eurosurveillance Weekly and Monthly are available free of charge - to be added to the mailing lists, email (weekly) and (monthly). A new joint website will be launched later this year and will include a fully-functional search engine for all back issues of both bulletins. Through its searchable online archives and its internet links, Eurosurveillance aims to become an interactive and dynamic platform, promoting the exchange of relevant epidemiological data on infectious