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European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control



Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 establishing a European Centre for disease prevention and control


  • It establishes the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
  • It sets out the ECDC’s mission, structure, bodies and working arrangements.
  • In 2022, the ECDC’s mandate was extended to allow it to provide the required scientific expertise, and to support measures in preparedness for and fight against serious cross-border threats to health in the European Union (EU).


Mission and tasks

ECDC’s mission is to identify, assess and report on current and emerging threats to human health from communicable diseases, and to provide recommendations for response at the EU and national levels, and also at the regional level, if necessary.

To meet these goals, it:

  • searches for, collects, collates, evaluates and disseminates relevant scientific and technical information;
  • provides analyses, scientific advice, opinions and support for EU and EU Member States’ activities on cross-border health threats, including:
    • risk assessments,
    • analysis of epidemiological information,
    • epidemiological modelling,
    • anticipation and forecast,
    • recommendations for measures to prevent and control communicable disease threats and other special health issues,
    • contributions to defining research priorities, and
    • scientific and technical assistance, including training and other activities within its mandate;
  • coordinates the European networking of bodies operating in the fields covered by its mission;
  • shares information, expertise and best practice;
  • monitors health systems’ capacity relevant to managing communicable disease threats and other special health issues;
  • facilitates the development and implementation of initiatives, funded by relevant EU funding programmes and instruments, including the implementation of joint initiatives;
  • provides guidelines for treatment and case management of communicable diseases and other special health issues relevant for public health;
  • supports epidemic and outbreak response in Member States, and in non-EU countries, to complement other EU emergency response instruments, in particular the EU Civil Protection Mechanism;
  • contributes to strengthening preparedness capacities under the international health regulations in non-EU countries, in particular EU partner countries;
  • provides, upon request of the European Commission or the Health Security Committee (HSC), evidence-based messages to the public on communicable diseases, the threats they pose to health, and relevant prevention and control measures.

Member States’ obligations

Member States must promptly:

  • share with the ECDC, according to agreed rules, data on the surveillance of communicable diseases and other special health issues and available scientific and technical data and information relevant to the ECDC’s mission;
  • notify the ECDC of any serious cross-border threats to health, as soon as they have been detected, through the early warning and response system, and inform it of response measures taken;
  • identify recognised competent bodies and public health experts who could be made available to assist in EU responses to health threats.

Dedicated networks and networking activities


  • supports networking activities by providing coordination and technical and scientific expertise to the Commission and Member States and by operating the dedicated networks;
  • ensures the integrated operation of the network for the epidemiological surveillance of communicable diseases and the related special health issues;
  • supports the work of the HSC, the Council of the European Union and other EU structures for coordinating responses to serious cross-border threats to health;
  • via the epidemiological surveillance network:
    • monitors and reports on trends in communicable diseases over time and across Member States and in non-EU countries,
    • detects, monitors and reports on serious cross-border threats to health,
    • contributes to the evaluation and monitoring of communicable disease prevention and control programmes,
    • monitors and assesses health systems’ capacity for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of specific communicable diseases and patients’ safety,
    • identifies population groups at risk and in need of targeted prevention and response measures, and ensures that those measures are accessible for people with disabilities,
    • contributes to assessing the burden of communicable diseases on the population using data, and ensures that these data are disaggregated on age, gender and disability,
    • carries out epidemiological modelling, anticipation and scenario development for response and coordinates these efforts with a view to sharing best practices and improving modelling capacity across the EU,
    • identifies risk factors for disease transmission, groups most at risk, and research priorities and needs;
  • ensures the operation of:
    • the network of EU reference laboratories for the diagnosis, detection, identification and characterisation of infectious agents that may present a threat to public health,
    • the network of Member State services supporting transfusion, transplantation and medically assisted reproduction to allow for continuous and rapid access to sero-epidemiological* data via sero-epidemiological surveys within the population.

Member States designate a coordinating competent body and nominate a national focal point and operational contact points as relevant for public health functions, including epidemiological surveillance, and for various disease groups and individual diseases. These focal points form networks that strategically advise the ECDC.

Enhanced activities

Among other things, amending Regulation (EU) 2022/2370 introduces articles specifically dealing with how the ECDC will:

  • support Member States in strengthening their communicable disease prevention and control systems;
  • provide scientific and technical expertise in the field of preparedness and response planning;
  • ensure the assessment of preparedness gaps and carry out the assessment of prevention, preparedness and response planning in accordance with Article 8 of Regulation (EU) 2022/2371 on serious cross-border threats to health (see summary);
  • develop relevant common indicators for standardised data collection procedures and risk assessments, and provide those assessments in a timely manner;
  • establish an EU Health Task Force and ensure that there is a permanent capacity and an enhanced emergency capacity to mobilise and use it; and
  • support response coordination in the HSC, as referred to in Regulation (EU) 2022/2371 on serious cross-border threats to health.


The ECDC comprises the following.

  • A management board that ensures that the ECDC carries out its mission and tasks by adopting its programme of work and financial rules. The board is composed of:
    • one member per Member State, as well as for Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway;
    • two members designated by the European Parliament; and
    • three members representing and appointed by the Commission.
  • A director, assisted by a small core staff. The director is responsible for the ECDC’s day-to-day administration, drawing up and implementing its work programme.
  • An advisory forum composed of representatives of the relevant national authorities. It serves as a mechanism to exchange information on health threats and to pool knowledge.


It has applied since 20 May 2004.


The ECDC has been operational since May 2005 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden.

For further information, see:


Sero-epidemiological. Epidemiological surveys based on the distribution of blood serum antibodies in populations of individuals.


Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a European centre for disease prevention and control (OJ L 142, 30.4.2004, pp. 1–11).

Regulation (EU) 2022/2370 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 November 2022 amending Regulation (EC) No 851/2004 establishing a European Centre for disease prevention and control (OJ L 314, 6.12.2022, p. 1–25).


Regulation (EU) 2022/2371 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 November 2022 on serious cross-border threats to health and repealing Decision No 1082/2013/EU (OJ L 314, 6.12.2022, pp. 26–63).

Decision No 1313/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism (OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, pp. 924–947).

Successive amendments to Decision No 1313/2013/EU have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

last update 29.11.2022