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Public Health (30-05-2005)

Inauguration of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was officially inaugurated in Stockholm last Friday. Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou, Luxembourg Health Minster Mars di Barolemeo and Swedish Public Health Minister Morgan Johansson were among the guests at the inauguration ceremony, which took place in the Nobel Forum at the Korlinska Institute.

Opening the ceremony, Mrs. Zsuzsanna Jakab, Director of the ECDC outlined her vision for the future of the Centre, stating that it will be “a strong actor to be called upon when practical support is needed and the best scientific advice is sought”. She stressed the importance of strong partnerships between the ECDC and the European Commission, national authorities, WHO and scientific community in tackling communicable diseases.

Commissioner Kyprianou in his speech highlighted the important role the ECDC will play in European and international efforts to deal with health threats and communicable diseases. “Reinforcing Europe’s defences against infectious disease is an urgent priority. Health experts warn us that a deadly influenza pandemic could be imminent. The ECDC will enable us to bring together Europe’s top disease control experts in a Europe-wide network and bring their collective expertise to bear on the threats facing us in the 21st century,” the Commissioner stated.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Enabling legislation to create a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was adopted by the Council and the Parliament in Spring 2004. It was foreseen that this new EU agency would support European-wide disease surveillance and networking of national public health institutes and scientific bodies. Following her nomination as Director of the ECDC in December 2004, Zsuzsanna Jakab, formerly a senior public health official from Hungary, took up her post in March 2005. On May 20th the Centre became operational. Mrs. Jakab and her staff are currently based in temporary offices in Solna, just north of Stockholm. Within the next few months, the ECDC will move to a permanent location in the Stockholm region.

For more information on the ECDC, including the press pack of the inauguration, see: http://www.ecdc.eu.int