Considerable attention has recently been directed to emerging and re-emerging infections in national and international discussions.
Infectious diseases are a continuing menace to all people, regardless of age, gender, lifestyle, ethnic background, and socio-economic
status. They cause suffering and death, and impose an enormous financial burden on society.
Numerous viral outbreaks in the last few years like Ebola in Kikwit/Zaire, Côte d'Ivoire, and Liberia in 1996/97 and Nipha Virus in Malaysia in
1998 led to the building of the European Network for Diagnostics of "Imported" Viral Diseases (ENIVD).
After several meetings scientists from university medical centres, country health departments, and hospitals all over Europe have raised this
network and agreed to collaborate on a few major tasks for the future, fixed in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by all members
and their institutions.
The ENIVD members meet regularly together with representatives from EC and WHO to exchange and gather information working on the improvement
of the collaboration and diagnostics for "imported" viral diseases in Europe. Sharing the duties and strengthen the collaboration in the
EC will help to enhance the emergency preparedness in all participating countries to the benefit for there citizens.
As we can see in the map below as well as in the table, each country in Europe may be hit by an import of suspected or real viral haemorrhagic
fever (VHF). Most experts think that this is only the tip of an iceberg, because the majority of the VHF cases will not be diagnosed.
This opinion is supported by the fact that lots of imported malaria cases are diagnosed too late by physicians not familiar with the clinical
picture and not aware of this disease.