International cooperation

In todays globalized world humans, animals and goods can move freely and quickly between the continents − and with them, communicable diseases. Therefore international cooperation is of utmost importance in the preventive work against these diseases.

The European Union

Within the EU there is a coordination of public health issues since 1992. In the area of communicable disease prevention a system has been established called Network on Communicable Diseases. Important parts of this network are various surveillance systems like EWRS (Early Warning and Response System).

Through these systems the public health authorities can quickly report about outbreaks of disease that may spread to other countries in the union. The National Board of Health and Welfare serves as point of contact in Sweden.

In 2005 The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was established with the aim to coordinate the various network activities. The new EU-authority is placed in Sweden, just outside Stockholm.


Within WHO extensive work is conducted regarding the discovery of and preparedness for nex epidemics and pandemics.

International Health Regulations (IHR) has been created through an international agreement. The aim is to prevent and control events that may constitute a public health emergency of international concern. A revised and extended set of rules was adopted in 2005 and came into force on June 15, 2007 and has been implemented in Swedish law through a new act. The National Board of Health and Welfare serves as point of contact (National Focal Point) in Sweden.

WHO has also taken the initiative to create a Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). The aim is to inform about outbreaks of communicable diseases and to coordinate help and support, especially for countries that lack the resources themselves.