Folkhälsomyndigheten - EUPHEM

acknowledged by EUPHEM
Unit for laboratory surveillance of viral pathogens and vaccine preventable diseases
SE-171 82 Solna
Sweden
Folkhälsomyndigheten 2017

Contact person:  

Mia Brytting

Tel. +46 10 205 26 54 

The description of the institute

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has a national responsibility for public health issues and works to ensure good public health. The agency also works to ensure that the population is protected against communicable diseases and other health threats.

Short facts:

  • The Public Health Agency of Sweden is a government agency accountable to the Government (Ministry of Health and Social Affairs).
  • Office locations are both in Solna (Stockholm) and in Östersund.
  • The number of employees is approximately 490.
  • The agency was formed on 1 January 2014 through a merger of The Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control and The Swedish National Institute of Public Health.
  • On 1 July 2015 the agency assumed the overall responsibility for the country's communicable disease control from The National Board of Health and Welfare.
  • The agency is the national focal point concerning international threats to public health.
  • The prioritized target groups for the agency are:
    - the Swedish parliment and the Government
    - Governmental agencies
    - Regions and County Councils
    - Municipalities
    - County Administrative Boards
    - Various organizations

The mission of The Public Health Agency of Sweden:

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has the task of disseminating scientifically based knowledge to promote health and prevent disease and injury. In collaboration with other stakeholders, we offer a knowledge base and methodological support, and follow up and evaluate different methods and efforts. Our mission from the government is also to monitor the health status of the population and the factors that affect this. The agency pays special attention to the groups of people with the greatest risk of suffering ill-health. Important partners are other governmental agencies, regions, county councils and municipalities.

Collection and analysis of data

An important basis for all public health work is collecting and analyzing data from different sources. This is why the Public Health Agency of Sweden monitors the health status continuously to ensure the early detection of changes in the population. The work includes receiving reports of communicable diseases and monitoring the occurrence of diseases in general. Within the scope of our mission, we also develop effective systems to monitor public health and the factors that affect the health of the population. Another important task is to monitor the impact of the vaccination programme.

Overall responsibility for the country's communicable disease control

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has the overall national responsibility for protecting the population against communicable diseases and coordinates communicable disease control on a national level. We develop regulations, recommendations and guidance for healthcare professionals to ensure effective communicable disease control. Some of the agency's responsibilities include vaccination programmes, emergency preparedness for health threats and national stockpiles of communicable disease medications. In addition, we coordinate national efforts concerning antibiotic resistance, infection control and healthcare-associated infections. Another field of work is our work to prevent HIV and STIs (sexually transmitted infections), where the agency is also responsible for national coordination.

Microbiological laboratory analysis, preparedness and outbreak support

The Public Health Agency of Sweden performs microbiological laboratory analysis including diagnostics and supports quality and method development at laboratories engaged in diagnostics of communicable disease pathogens. Our high containment laboratories have round-the-clock preparedness every day of the year to conduct microbiological diagnostics of high-consequence infectious agents that pose a particular danger to human health. One important task is to provide expert support to investigations of suspected or confirmed outbreaks of communicable diseases and to maintain laboratory preparedness needed for effective communicable disease control in the country. We also provide operational support to the regions, county councils and municipalities during outbreaks.

International cooperation

The Public Health Agency of Sweden is actively engaged in public health work within organisations including the EU and the WHO. We are also a national focal point for these organisations, in areas such as the protection and management of international health threats. Through cooperation with other stakeholders, the agency also contributes to the implementation of Sweden’s policy for global development.

 

Health promotion in mental health, lifestyle and the physical environment

The Agency compiles, analyses and disseminates knowledge to support health promotion and preventive health work, in areas such as mental health, sexual health and lifestyle. We are also the national coordinating agency for suicide prevention. Our mission in environmental health is to detect, prevent and eliminate health hazards in the physical environment and to promote positive environmental impacts on human health.

Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs

The agency is responsible for coordinated monitoring within alcohol, narcotics, doping and tobacco and compiles, analyses and disseminates knowledge in order to prevent related illness. The agency also has corresponding responsibility for gambling. Our mission also includes overall supervision under the Alcohol and Tobacco Acts. In addition, the agency is responsible for establishing the basis for the classification of drugs and hazardous goods.

At the institute all laboratory units are located within the department of microbiology. The laboratory units have close collaborations with the epidemiologists at the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation and the Department of Knowledge Development. Reports from clinicians and microbiological laboratories regarding infectious agents and outbreaks enable us to provide an overview over the national epidemiological situation. Furthermore, typing of infectious agents is performed to allow detailed molecular epidemiological analyses.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden is the national reference center for microbiology. We provide essential support function in surveillance and a primary function in microbial epidemiology, as well as infection prevention and control advice. We also provide facilities for the identification of rare or difficult pathogens including a BSL 4 laboratory. We perform diagnostics and research in BSL 2-4 facilities. Reference microbiology is performed for strain characterization and microbial epidemiology to support outbreak investigations, national surveillance and vaccine implementation and monitoring programmes. Bioinformatics and mathematical modelling support for the interpretation of sequence data, for example to assist surveillance and studies on pathogenesis are available on site. Serological diagnosis and seroepidemiology activities are also performed. These functions are applied to a range of public health needs which include support for monitoring vaccine effectiveness (e.g. influenza and MMR) and identifying outbreaks.

A number of projects have already been identified to be suitable for the future EUPHEM fellow at different units and departments. Of course will outbreak-investigations included in the project portfolio. 

Training supervision

The EUPHEM fellow will be supervised by members of the EUPHEM and EPIET supervising team at The Public Health Agency of Sweden. For specific tasks and assignments, the fellow will be supervised by the respective project scientist/supervisor.

Language requirements

English

Training history

One EUPHEM fellow has completed the program at the institute and two are still enrolled. Current EUPHEM-fellows are Theresa Enkirch (EU-track C2016-2018) and Nina Lagerqvist (MS-track C2017-2019). Number of EPIET fellows trained at institute: 23 have completed the programme and 2 are still enrolled in the programme.