The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control launched in Stockholm in September 2004, is due to start work in May 2005.
The lauch was attended by senior Health Officials and Politicians from around Europe, North America and Asia and by EPHA Executive Committee member, Florence Bertelleti-Kemp.
Mr David Byrne, former Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, gave a speech in which he said "SARS in 2003 showed us that, in today’s world, a disease outbreak can spread internationally with alarming speed. We need 21st century institutions for the 21st century challenge."
Mrs Zsuzsanna Jakab will be the ECDC Director.
Speaking in a Informal Health Ministers Council on the 14th April 2005, Commissioner Kyprianou stated that “when fully operational, the centre should coordinate all activities regarding risk assessment, surveillance and detection, and alert investigation”. The goal is to create a focal point to pool European scientific knowledge. This will be achieved through coordinating the existing networks on communicable disease and existing expertise.
However, the staffing will be small (around 40 people) arising to 100 by 2007 and a budget of 10 million Euros which is expected to increase to 20 million Euros in the coming years. The ECDC will therefore remain a relatively small agency during the next few years. Hence, the Management Board will have to decide over priority illnesses they want to tackle. Amongst them, may be HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis, influenza and new emerging viruses such as SARS.
List of existing disease specific networks