VBORNET is a network of medical entomologists and public health experts, funded by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
The network supports ECDC activities in the area of arthropod vector surveillance within the European Union to improve preparedness towards vector-borne diseases.
ECDC started the VBORNET network in September 2009, bringing together entomologists and public health experts that represent all aspects of vector-borne disease-related research and public health activities in Europe.
The network’s main tasks are:
- to produce distribution maps of the major arthropod disease vectors and related surveillance activities;
- to define priority strategic topics concerning the public health perspective of vector-borne diseases and vector surveillance.
Updated maps on exotic mosquitoes and on ticks and phlebetomines are published at the ECDC website to provide the ECDC stakeholders and the general public with the most updated information on vector distribution.
Investigations to gain an overview of the activities and resources in the Member States related to vector-borne diseases have been launched - to guide Emerging and Vector-borne Diseases Programme to further define a strategy related to vector-borne diseases.
VBORNET Vector surveillance activities
The network addresses the vector surveillance activities for arthropods of importance to the following priority diseases in the European Union:
- Mosquito-borne diseases: chikungunya, dengue, West Nile fever
- Tick-borne diseases: tick-borne encephalitis, Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, Lyme disease, tularaemia, rickettsiosis
- Phlebotomine-borne diseases: leishmaniasis, sandfly fevers
- Other vector-borne diseases transmitted by fleas and lice
ECDC started the VBORNET network in September 2009, bringing together entomologists and public health experts that represent all aspects of vector-borne disease related research and public health activities in Europe. Subscription to the network is on a voluntary basis.
1. Why become a VBORNET network member?
As an active network member, contributing information to VBORNET, you will have access to the VBORNET vector-borne diseases data and resources, have the possibility to contribute to vector borne diseases public health discussions in Europe and be listed as an official active VBORNET network member.
2. How will the vector-borne diseases community as a whole benefit from VBORNET?
VBORNET aims to make available online (on ECDC website and VBORNET website) regularly updated vector distribution maps of the major arthropod vectors of diseases in Europe.
3. What do VBORNET network members do?
The VBORNET network is looking for vector-borne diseases experts who are interested in data sharing and networking. VBORNET focuses on acquiring baseline data on confirmed vector presence at various administrative scales (NUTS 1-2-3) and quality control of the various VBORNET database inputs. VBORNET network members can be representatives of other existing vector borne diseases networks.
4. How can you become a member of the VBORNET network?
Contact the VBORNET with a short e-mail confirming your interest in joining the network at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Four work-packages (WP) have been implemented to conduct the various VBORNET activities.
A coordinator for each work-packages has been nominated. He/she is in charge of achieving the objectives of its work-package and communicating with the other work-package’s to ensure all activities are in phase. The coordinators provide the necessary administration and management back-up, communication platforms and ICT tools. There are additional vector and public health focal points for work-package 3 and 4.
Participants to the VBORNET kick-off meeting at ECDC in Stockholm: (1) Francis Schaffner, (2) Annick Lenglet, (3) Lara Payne, (4) Renaud Lancelot, (5) Hervé Zeller, (6) William Wint, (7) Wim Van Bortel, (8) Didier Fontenille, (9) Pierre-Edouard Fournier, (10) Joke Van Der Giesen, (11) Jolyon Medlock, (12) Céline Gossner, (13) Katrin Leitmeyer, (14) Bulent Alten, (15) Guy Hendrickx, (16) Paolo Calistri, (17) Zdenek Hubalek, (18) Gert Olsson, (19) Evelyn Depoortere
Read about the work-packages:
Work-package 1: Secretariat: information management and coordination
Leader: Guy Hendrickx, Avia-GIS, Belgium
Work-package 1 coordinates the various activities of the network by providing project management input, organizing meetings and communication between network members. It also provides all the necessary ICT support to develop databases, web-archives and information systems, as well as public mapping tools.
Work-package 2: AD HOC TECHNICAL SUPPORT
Leader: Jolyon Medlock, Health Protection Agency, UK
The objective of this work-package is to provide ad-hoc technical advice to ECDC on all vector-related aspects of vector-borne disease issues in Europe. During the first years, the focus is on developing risk assessments on invasive mosquitoes (e.g. Aedes albopictus, Aedes aegypti, Ochlerotatus japonicus
) and key tick vector species (e.g. Hyalomma marginatum
and the expanding range of Ixodes ricinus
). Outputs from this work-package are included in ECDC factsheets and risk communication materials.
Work-package 3: Vector distribution and surveillance Leader: Veerle Versteirt, Institute of Tropical Medicine (ITM), Belgium
The main objective of this work-package is to establish and maintain databases on vector distribution. Data gathered by the Network will be used in vector distribution maps for Europe at three sub-national scales (NUTS 1-2-3). These maps are freely available on ECDC website.
Particular attention is given to the following arthropod vectors:
- Mosquitoes: Aedes albopictus, Aedes aegypti and other invasive mosquito species.
- Ticks: Hyalomma sp and Ixodes ricinus and other tick species of medical importance.
- Phlebotomines: distribution limits of species of particular interest in the transmission of leishmaniasis and viruses around the Mediterranean.
In addition to the work-package coordinator, four specialized vector experts help with establishing the relevant VBORNET network components through their recognized links within the vector-borne diseases community. They are also responsible for the data validation:
- Mosquito focal point: Francis Schaffner, University of Zurich, Switzerland
- Tick focal point: Laurence Vial, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), France
- Phlebotomine focal point: Bülent Alten, Hacettepe University, Turkey.
Work-package 4: Strategic consultation group
Leader: Marieta Braks, Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM), the Netherlands
The main objective of this work-package is to fill in the existing gap and establish good relationship between vector networks and public health experts, both at national level and in European networks. In particular, it aims to:
- define and develop priority strategic topics concerning the public health perspective of vector-borne diseases and vector surveillance in the European Union including vector-borne diseases transmitted by other vector species than mosquitoes, ticks or phlebotomines;
- develop a European strategy for the surveillance of the main human disease vectors with public health importance;
- advise ECDC with technical strategic topics such as the clarification of current roles and responsibilities and the organizational framework in the European Union for vector surveillance activities;
- identify the current relevant public health issues and gaps for European Union preparedness for vector-borne diseases.
This work-package will be organized by geographical regions based on the major European biomes: Northern Europe, Western Temperate Europe, Central Temperate Europe, the Mediterranean basin (includes North Africa), and Overseas (tropical) Europe. Work-package regional focal points are appointed for each region:
- Northern European Union focal point: Marika Hjertqvist, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI), Sweden
- Western Europe Union focal point: Marieta Braks, Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu (RIVM), the Netherlands
- Central European Union focal point: Zdenek Hubalek, Institute of Vertebrate Biology, Czech Republic
- Mediterranean European Union focal point: Renaud Lancelot, Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), France
- Overseas European Union focal point: Didier Fontenille, Institut de recherche
pour le développement (IRD), France
- Other vectors focal point: Frederic Pages. Institut de Recherche Biomédicale des Armées (IRBA), France.
Links with other ECDC led networks will be implemented as VBORNET is setting up.