Surveillance and control of communicable diseases related to passenger ships in Europe
AuthorHadjichristodoulou, C.; Mouchtouri, V. A.; Martinez, C. V.; Nichols, G.; Riemer, T.; Rabinina, J.; Swan, C.; Pirnat, N.; Sokolova, O.; Kostara, E.; Rachiotis, G.; Meilicke, R.; Schlaich, C.; Bartlett, C. L.; Kremastinou, J.; Partnership, T. S.
This study was conducted within the European SHIPSAN (ship sanitation) project and aims at exploring the legislative framework and current practices related to surveillance of communicable diseases and response aboard passenger ships in Europe. A detailed questionnaire was disseminated and completed by 59 competent authorities in 27 European countries. The majority of competent authorities used national legislation without special provisions for passenger ships. Only 20% had specific provisions for ships regarding quarantine, while a smaller proportion of new Member States (MS) have specific legislation in comparison with old MS (p = 0.01). The Maritime Declaration of Health (MDH) was the main reporting tool used. About 30.5% of the competent authorities declared that they require submission of MDH by all arriving ships, but 28.8% only from affected areas, and 11.9% never require MDH. A total of 45 outbreaks or incidents (36 gastrointestinal, 1 incident of legionellosis, 3 respiratory, and 1 influenza-like illness outbreak, occupational tuberculosis, varicella, scabies, and meningitis) were reported to EU competent authorities during 2006. About 75% of the responders stated that there are gaps in the surveillance and control of communicable diseases. A diversity of approaches in EU countries, and gaps regarding surveillance and response and training needs of personnel were identified.
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