The Tuberculosis Programme supports EU Member States in all aspects of tuberculosis (TB) prevention and control, aiming to reduce – and ultimately eliminate – TB in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EEA).
ECDC coordinates the surveillance and microbiology networks for TB, develops scientific advice on TB, and provides support to the policy work of countries and the European Commission for TB prevention and control. The Programme coordinates the investigation of cross-border TB clusters and works on the standardisation of methods for whole genome sequencing of TB strains in Europe.
Around 60 000 TB cases are reported annually in 30 EU/EEA countries. The amount of reported cases is declining by around 5% each year; however, a decline of at least 10% is needed to reach the set targets to end TB. Notable in the region is the number of TB cases with difficult to treat drug-resistant TB: multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) both contribute to the overall burden of antimicrobial resistance in the EU/EEA.
- Goal 3: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.’
- Target 3.3: ‘By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.’
The SDGs are also reflected in the World Health Organization’s (WHO) TB action plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020 and the global End TB Strategy which aims at an 80% reduction in TB incidence and a 90% reduction in TB deaths by 2030. ECDC collaborates with the WHO Global TB Programme, in particular on the implementation of the End TB Strategy, and with the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the Roadmap to implement the tuberculosis action plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020. To assist Member States in this effort, ECDC contributes to:
- Timely and reliable information and technical support to the European Commission and the EU/EEA Member States on TB prevention and control in order to accelerate the decrease in reported TB from the current annual average of 5% to at least 10% and to monitor progress.
- Joint surveillance and monitoring of tuberculosis together with the WHO Regional Office for Europe. This includes the improvement and standardisation of disease surveillance data on TB and latent TB infection (LTBI).
- Improved TB laboratory services to ensure that all suspected cases are screened, allowing for an adequate and rapid diagnosis of TB and LTBI; this also includes drug susceptibility testing for all TB cases.
- Scientific advice and technical support to prevent and control TB, tailored to the epidemiological profile of each Member State, including training and/or exchange visits for persons involved in key strategic areas of TB prevention and control.
By 2020 ECDC aims to have accelerated the pace of decrease in reported TB in the EU to at least 10% with the ultimate goal to meet all targets outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals and the End TB Strategy. Progress towards ending TB is measured through a monitoring and evaluation framework developed by the WHO Regional Office for Europe for the Tuberculosis action plan 2016–2020.
TB team at ECDC
A multidisciplinary team implements the TB Programme at ECDC. The team combines expertise in public health, epidemiology, surveillance, microbiology, epidemic intelligence, communication and medicine.
Head of Programme: Marieke van der Werf
Programme Manager: Brigita Molnarova
European Reference Laboratory Network for TB (ERLTB-Net)
The ERLTB-Net sub-network of reference laboratories from EU/EEA Member States supports harmonisation of methods and laboratory capacity for tuberculosis diagnosis, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and typing in the EU/EEA.
WHO Regional Office for Europe: Tuberculosis action plan for the WHO European Region 2016–2020
REGIONAL COMMITTEE FOR EUROPE