European Monitoring Systems and Data for Assessing Environmental and Climate Impacts on Human Infectious Diseases
Surveillance is critical to understanding the epidemiology and control of infectious diseases. The growing concern over climate and other drivers that may increase infectious disease threats to future generations has stimulated a review of the surveillance systems and environmental data sources that might be used to assess future health impacts from climate change in Europe. We present an overview of organizations, agencies and institutions that are responsible for infectious disease surveillance in Europe. We describe the surveillance systems, tracking tools, communication channels, information exchange and outputs in light of environmental and climatic drivers of infectious diseases. We discuss environmental and climatic data sets that lend themselves to epidemiological analysis. Many of the environmental data sets have a relatively uniform quality across EU Member States because they are based on satellite measurements or EU funded FP6 or FP7 projects with full EU coverage. Case-reporting systems for surveillance of infectious diseases should include clear and consistent case definitions and reporting formats that are geo-located at an appropriate resolution. This will allow linkage to environmental, social and climatic sources that will enable risk assessments, future threat evaluations, outbreak management and interventions to reduce disease burden.