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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“To improve the detection of food- and waterborne viral infections by developing laboratory tools and database infrastructure for epidemiological surveillance.”

The problem

Food and water is monitored for bacterial contamination but not viral. Diseases caused by some enteric viruses, such as noroviruses, are readily identifiable due to high attack rates and short incubation periods. More difficult to detect are infections with viruses that are largely asymptomatic during lengthy incubation periods, such as viral hepatitis. Identifying the source of such outbreaks is virtually impossible since a surveillance and diagnostic infrastructure has yet to be established in Europe. 

EVENT  Towards better surveillance of food and water-borne viruses


EVENT will develop laboratory and bio-informatics tools for the epidemiological surveillance of food and water-borne viruses. The network will establish which pathogens pose the greatest risk to the food chain, evaluate modes of transmission, and develop suitable diagnostic assays.

The project will:

  • Develop testing algorithms for the detection and surveillance of noroviruses and hepatitis A virus
  • Develop shared database infrastructure for the tracking of these viruses
  • Improve the understanding of viral evolution for diagnostics and testing
  • Investigate the unexplained gastroenteritis and hepatitis caused by rare or newly described viruses
  • Asses animal to man infection by noroviruses, rotaviruses and hepatitis viruses

Contribution to policy development:

  • Providing better capability to detect and track viral contamination of food and water, allowing the authorities more time to respond to public health threats
  • Strengthening the European network for the surveillance and control of communicable diseases, and providing a blueprint for the development of future epidemiological monitoring
  • Helping regulators and risk managers draft targeted guidelines for future control and prevention

Project deliverables

  • Description of methods for testing the most common viral strains – September 2007
  • Guidelines for interpreting the results in relation to epidemiology – September 2006
  • Publication of optimal methods for the detection and identification of selected viruses, including instructions for specimen collection and transportation – March 2007
  • Report on the molecular typing of representative viruses for use in reference centres undertaking epidemiological surveillance – September 2008


  • Meeting between the coordinator and the work package leaders – annual
  • Meeting of all participants to discuss progress – every 6 months
  • Progress reports and presentations at workshops – September 2005/6/7
  • Dissemination of information of interest to the scientific community at large via a specifically created publications organisation

Technical information

Project acronym: Enteric Virus Emergence, New Tools (EVENT)
Project’s official full title: Providing tools to prevent the emergence of enteric viruses
Research priority: Public health issues, including epidemiology contributing to disease prevention and responses to emerging rare and communicable diseases, allergies, procedures for secure blood and organ donations, non-animal test methods
Specific webpage: 
Proposal/contract no: 502571
Start date: 01/09/2004
Kick off meeting: 10/11/2004
Completion date: 01/09/2007
European Commission scientific officer: Cornelius Schmaltz (

Name: National Institute for Public Health
Abbreviated Name: RIVM
Address: RIVM - Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklaan 9 - 3721 MA Bilthoven
Country: The Netherlands
Tel: +31 30 274 91 11
Fax: +3130 274 29 71


Name: Medical University of Gratz
Abbreviated Name: MUG
Country: Austria 

Name: Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Abbreviated Name: CSIC-UAM
Country: Spain 

Name: Health Protection Agency
Abbreviated Name: HPA
Country: UK 

Name: University of Helsinki
Abbreviated Name: UH.HI
Country: Finland 

Name: Statens Serum Institute
Abbreviated Name: SSI
Country: Denmark 

Name: Danish Veterinary Institute
Abbreviated Name: DVI
Country: Denmark 

Name: Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control
Abbreviated Name: SMI
Country: Sweden 

Name: Department of Molecular Virology, University of Linköping
Abbreviated Name: IMK
Country: Sweden 

Name: University of Dijon
Abbreviated Name: CHU-Dijon
Country: France 

Name: Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
Abbreviated Name: INRA
Country: France 

Name: Institut Français de Recherche pour l’Exploitation de la Mer
Abbreviated Name: IFREMER
Country: France 

Name: University of Barcelona
Abbreviated Name: UB
Country: Spain 

Name: University of Valencia
Abbreviated Name: UVEG
Country: Spain 

Name: Unidad de Patologia Infecciosa y Epidemiologia
Abbreviated Name: UPIE
Country: Spain

Name: State Public Health Service
Abbreviated Name: ANTSZ
Country: Hungary

Name: National Centre for Epidemiology
Abbreviated Name: OEK
Country: Hungary

Name: Central Veterinary Institute
Abbreviated Name: OAI
Country: Hungary

Name: University of Ljubljana
Abbreviated Name: UL
Country: Slovenia

Name: Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia
Abbreviated Name: IPHS
Country: Slovenia

Name: Istituto Superiore di Sanita
Abbreviated Name: ISS
Country: Italy