Disease and laboratory networks

about us networks and partnerships

There are 17 operational disease networks coordinated by the ECDC Disease Programmes. As part of these networks, ECDC supports several sub-networks or consortia of public health microbiology laboratories in EU Member States, to enhance capabilities and strengthen capacity for pathogen detection, characterisation and surveillance of specific diseases and antimicrobial resistance. These sub-networks of public health microbiology laboratories contribute and support with essential information to integrate epidemiological and microbiological surveillance of the EU notifiable communicable diseases listed in Decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health.

ECDC supports laboratory subnetworks in Europe by coordinating network collaboration activities, external quality assessments (EQA), training schemes, and assessment of the accuracy or effectiveness of a new microbiological methods for the detection or characterisation of pathogen(s) of importance to public health. Services for detection and/or further characterisation of pathogens, including testing of new technologies, emerging disease detection or agent identification/diagnostic confirmation support and typing support for multi-country outbreak investigations, are provided within networks.

Some ECDC Disease Programmes operate a single laboratory subnetwork embracing a single or multiple pathogens, while others run several subnetworks. ECDC coordinates the disease network activities with the support of a coordination committee consisting of representatives from the EU Member States. The variation in scope and organisation of the outsourced microbiology support activities reflect the diagnostic complexity and diverse surveillance or epidemic preparedness needs for the various pathogens.