How can we best respond to the myriad of new and old challenges that we face in public health today, with new viruses reaching across the globe within days if not hours, the effectiveness of antibiotics dwindling due to antimicrobial resistance, and the epidemics of scepticism towards immunization, a most effective public health intervention, spreading like a disease?
In the field of disease prevention and control, we have one extremely powerful tool, and this tool is knowledge. With knowledge, I mean the rigorous work we all perform in collecting, analyzing, and reporting data, producing and communicating strong evidence as well as the “softer” aspects of knowing each other, sharing our knowledge efficiently, and learning from each other’s knowledge.
On behalf of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), I would like to express sincere congratulations to China CDC on the launch of China CDC Weekly. We expect this publication to quickly take up its rightful place as an important and authoritative source of knowledge that strengthens our global defenses against infectious diseases. With one fifth of the world’s population, China’s contribution cannot be overstated when considering global health, and we look forward to new advances in knowledge that will benefit us all. Indeed, congratulations should go to the whole public health community.
This year, we celebrate the 15th anniversary since the foundation of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in 2005, in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic that demonstrated the need for Europe to have its own center for disease prevention and control. Located in Stockholm, Sweden, ECDC has 280 staff to cover the whole of Europe, and a broad mandate in strengthening Europe’s defenses against infectious diseases. Our small size has taught us that strength lies in providing impactful services and knowledge as well as in strong partnerships and networks that help us create and spread this knowledge. We work closely with the European Commission and Member States of the European Union, coordinating a comprehensive set of networks in infectious diseases and public health functions across EU Member States and the European Economic Area. We equip Europe with risk assessment and continuous monitoring of infectious disease threats to human health. We support Eurosurveillance, a peer-reviewed weekly journal on infectious disease surveillance, epidemiology, prevention, and control, and we publish weekly communicable disease threat reports (CDTRs).
Our cooperation with China CDC goes back to the very beginnings of ECDC; throughout these years, it has enriched our knowledge and has helped us immensely in performing our work. As a testimony to this, we had the honor of receiving a delegation from China CDC, led by Dr George F. Gao, Director of China CDC, in our center in 2018. In order to foster multilateral cooperation among the centers for disease prevention and control we are closely collaborating with, ECDC and the other centers, including China CDC, agreed on the establishment of a forum for regular exchange in 2019. We are grateful to China CDC and all other centers for their unanimous support of this forum, and we look forward to intensified cooperation.
This is a time of unprecedented challenges posed to China and the world due to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. It underlines the importance of close collaboration and sharing of data and knowledge to understand and effectively respond to new threats. Once again, we welcome the new knowledge that becomes available to all of us in China CDC Weekly. May this important source of knowledge bring light and help us prepare for the known and unknown public health challenges of tomorrow.
Foreword from European CDC Dr. Andrea Ammon—New Source of Knowledge to Strengthen Global Defences Against Infectious Disease