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The European Surveillance System (TESSy)

The European Surveillance System (TESSy) is a highly flexible metadata-driven system for collection, validation, cleaning, analysis and dissemination of data. Its key aims are data analysis and production of outputs for public health action. All EU Member States (28) and EEA countries (3) report their available data on communicable diseases (49) as described in Decision No 2119/98/EC to the system. Apart from routine surveillance, TESSy has replaced the data collection systems in place for the Dedicated Surveillance Networks (DSNs) to provide experts with a one-stop-shop for EU surveillance data. Prior to May 2005 when ECDC was established, there were 17 DSNs that collected data on a variety of diseases. All Member States submitted data individually to every DSN, using different file specifications.

National Contact Points for Surveillance (epidemiologists and IT/data managers)
In order to launch the routine working relationship with the Member States in the surveillance matters, each Member State has identified individuals who are the main Contact Points for bilateral communication with the ECDC. These epidemiologists and IT/data managers are also the main counterparts responsible for data submission to ECDC.

The public launch of TESSy commenced with a two-day training workshop on January 29th and 30th, 2008, where these National Contact Points for surveillance were presented with the data reporting protocols and requirements. The workshop also included hands-on practical training on uploading national datasets and discussions on reporting to EU in light of the new case definitions. Similar further training sessions in using TESSy were held for the disease specific experts. More training is ongoing.

Data collection

  • A common set of variables is defined for all diseases. This common set is applicable to all diseases.
  • For selected priority diseases or disease groups ‘enhanced surveillance’ is needed. This consists of an additional set of variables that enables a higher level of analysis to be carried out.
  • The technical transport protocol (file format and data submission) supports both the CSV and XML file format.
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