At a special joint session combining experts from the National Microbiology Focal Points and ECDC's Advisory Forum, ECDC Director, Dr. Marc Sprenger, set out his vision for the agency’s role in strengthening public health microbiology across Europe: “By 2016, ECDC will foster the development and facilitate the operation of an efficient public health microbiology system capable of providing timely and reliable information for infectious disease prevention and control at Member State and EU levels”.
Dr. Sprenger went on to highlight the key role of the National Microbiology Focal Points - the designated ECDC representatives for public health microbiology in the EU/EEA Member States - to advise ECDC on how to reach this goal, building upon the existing achievements of ECDC, the Commission and other key stakeholders in building this European public health microbiology system. He made a plea for a strong and responsive system. This should include robust networks of laboratories and integration of advanced microbiology diagnostics and genomic-based microbial tracing for surveillance, epidemic alert and response, based on adequate national laboratory capacity.
The joint session of the Advisory Forum and the National Microbiology Focal Points marked the 8th meeting of the National Microbiology Focal Points since the group was first assembled in 2007. In bringing together these two groups, the best European experts were able to provide their multi-disciplinary expertise to review ECDC’s long-term European public health microbiology strategy for surveillance of communicable diseases and prioritise work plans for the next 5 years.
The agenda also included a discussion of EU and national perspectives on the STEC O104:H4 outbreak, including lessons learnt and the way forward to strengthening laboratory preparedness and response to communicable diseases.
The meeting is taking place at ECDC’s headquarters in Stockholm from 27-28 September.
Read ECDC Director, Dr. Marc Sprenger’s presentation: a vision statement for 2016
Microbiology cooperation at ECDC
National Microbiology Focal Points