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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Cyprus only EU member not on Legionella network ]

Cyprus only EU member not on Legionella network

CYPRUS is the only member of the European Union that is not a member of the European Working Group for Legionella Infections (EWGLI).

Moreover the island is not a signatory of the European Guidelines for responding to cases of travel associated Legionnaires’ disease in all the participant countries.

But the Health Ministry does not see this as a problem.

“We are in constant co-operation with EWGLINET (the European Surveillance Scheme for Travel Associated Legionnaires’ Disease),” a senior Health Ministry official said.

The official, who is involved in the public health services’ epidemiological observation team, said Cyprus was kept fully up-to-date by EWGLINET regarding Legionnaires’ outbreaks.

“We are told when there is any Legionella in any hotel, what outbreaks there have been and so on. We also inform EWGLINET when there are outbreaks here,” she said.

EWGLINET is a European-wide dedicated surveillance network which collects data on travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease cases. It aims to detect early outbreaks and clusters of Legionnaires’ disease related to travel in order to initiate rapid response at the European level.

Pressured into answering why Cyprus had failed to become a member of EWGLI, she said: “It is no different if we are a member or not.”

The only other European countries not members of the working group are Albania, Serbia, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.

According to the EWGLI official website it would like to bring the eight countries, including Cyprus, into EWGLI.

In 2002, EWGLI introduced a new set of procedures outlining a standard approach to control and prevention of travel associated Legionnaires’ disease across all European countries. A year later, the guidelines were amended and updated and approved and endorsed as an official document by the EU Committee for the Epidemiological Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases in the Community, instituted by Decision No 2119/98/EC of the European Parliament and the Council.

The guidelines aim to reduce the incidence of travel associated Legionnaires’ disease, to prevent further cases through enhancing the identification and control of known sources of legionella, and to provide an early warning system to all collaborators and other public health officials.

Objectives include developing and maintaining EWGLINET, enhancing the capability within the EU to detect common source outbreaks early, enabling member states to implement timely preventive action, informing all those that need to know about travel associated Legionnaires’ disease to promote primary preventive action and collaborative investigations, and providing a dedicated website for enhancing EWGLI’s information resource.

Other EWGLI member countries which are not signatories of the European Guidelines include Croatia, FYR of Macedonia, Russia, Israel, Romania and Switzerland.

EWGLI was formed in 1986. Its members are scientists with an interest in improving knowledge and information on the epidemiological and microbiological (clinical and environmental) aspects of Legionnaires’ disease. According to the EWGI website, “this is achieved through international surveillance of the disease, as well as developments in diagnosis, management and treatment methods”.

The website is managed from London and the information is provided by members of EWGLI and EWGLINET. In the event that hotels or other accommodation sites are named on the website, it is with the agreement and support of the European countries that follow the procedures outlined in the European guidelines.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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