Event-based surveillance of food- and waterborne diseases in Europe: 'urgent inquiries' (outbreak alerts) during 2008 to 2013

C.M. Gossner*, B. de Jong, C.J. Hoebe, D. Coulombier, the European Food and Waterborne Diseases Study Group

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Web of Science)


During 2008 to 2013, 215 outbreak alerts, also known as 'urgent inquiries' (UI), for food- and waterborne diseases were launched in Europe, the majority of them (135; 63%) being related to salmonellosis. For 110 (51%) UI, a potential food vehicle of infection was identified, with vegetables being the most reported category (34; 31%). A total of 28% (n = 60) of the outbreaks reported had an international dimension, involving at least two countries (mean: 4; standard deviation: 2; range: 2-14). Participating countries posted 2,343 messages (initial posts and replies, excluding updates), with a median of 11 messages per urgent inquiry (range: 1-28). Of 60 multicountry UI, 50 involved between two and four countries. The UI allowed early detection of multicountry outbreaks, facilitated the identification of the suspected vehicles and consequently contributed to the timely implementation of control measures. The introduction of an epidemic intelligence information system platform in 2010 has strengthened the role of the Food-and Waterborne Diseases and Zoonoses network in facilitating timely exchange of information between public health authorities of the participating countries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21166
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2015

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