The content below focus on indicator-based surveillance; the systematic ongoing collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of highly structured information (‘indicators’) for public health action. Indicator-based surveillance is complemented by event-based surveillance, the detection, verification, analysis, assessment and further investigation of potential public health threats (‘events’). For more information on event-based surveillance, go to Epidemic Intelligence.
Diseases and countries under EU surveillance
ECDC collects, analyses and disseminates surveillance data on 52 communicable diseases and related special health issues from all 28 European Union (EU) Member States and two of the three remaining European Economic Area (EEA) countries (Iceland and Norway). Data submission and subsequent validation is the responsibility of European networks of disease experts nominated by Member States and coordinated by ECDC through its disease programmes.
The ECDC long-term surveillance strategy covers the years 2014-2020. It aims for EU/EEA infectious disease surveillance to provide relevant data for the effective prevention and control of infectious diseases while minimising the burden on the Member States. In its annex, the strategy explains the added value of EU/EEA surveillance and lists the general surveillance objectives.
Surveillance data and frequencies of reporting
Surveillance data collected at the European level are predominantly case-based and comprise demographic, clinical, epidemiological and laboratory information. They are reported annually (for most diseases and special health issues), monthly (for salmonella serotypes, measles and rubella), weekly (for influenza and West Nile fever) or daily (for travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease), as required for specific objectives, outputs and ensuing public health actions.
Joint efforts for standardising EU surveillance
ECDC and the European disease networks ensure standardised reporting and data comparability across Member States through use of common (externally quality-assured) diagnostic and typing methods, case definitions, metadata and reporting protocols. ECDC and the Member States also strive for routine data quality monitoring and evaluation of surveillance systems.
The technical platform for EU/EEA communicable disease surveillance, i.e. web-based data submission, data storage and dissemination is The European Surveillance System (TESSy), a password-protected, fully anonymised database hosted by ECDC. Further details on the treatment of personal data in the TESSy are available from the TESSy-specific privacy statement. For inquiries or technical support, please contact email@example.com
ECDC uses indicator-based surveillance data to produce an Annual Epidemiological Report covering all diseases and special health topics under surveillance. ECDC and its disease networks further publish weekly, monthly, annual or multi-annual disease-specific surveillance reports and peer-reviewed scientific articles. In addition, the Surveillance Atlas for Infectious Diseases and several other publicly accessible databases on healthcare-associated infections in acute care hospitals and antimicrobial consumption enable interactive exploration of EU/EEA surveillance data.
ECDC and nominated Member State surveillance experts are the default users of case-based EU/EEA surveillance data, but data access may also be granted to third parties upon request. ECDC is not able to identify individual patient’s information. Any requests for such as data should be placed to the competent national authority.