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Health Threat Unit (European Commission)

The Health Threat Unit of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (European Commission), is responsible for terrorism surveillance and early warning of biological, chemical, and radiological threats within the European Union. The Health Threat Unit runs the Rapid Alert System, which conducts surveillance on communicable diseases and diseases caused by acts of bioterrorism. The surveillance data are coordinated and evaluated by the Health Emergency Operations Facility. Health threat information and warnings are sent to the member states by the Communication and Crisis Center (BICHAT) and the Security Office in Brussels, Belgium.


Criteria for notification

The BICHAT sends a warning to the EU member states, within one hour of receiving a warning, when there is:

  • Suspicion of danger
  • Internationally relevant events; need for a complex response
  • Need for coordination (investigative and control actions)
  • Suspicion of deliberate action of a terrorist organization
  • Risk of trans-frontier spread of the agent/event
  • Need for assistance from other countries

Other responbilities

Besides bioterorism, the Health Threat Unit also has responsibility for other reportable diseases:

  • Diseases preventable by vaccination
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Food- and water-borne diseases and diseases of environmental origin
  • Air-borne diseases
  • Zoonotic diseases
  • Diseases transmitted by non-conventional agents
  • Serious imported diseases
  • Special Health Issues (nosocomial infections; antimicrobial resistance)

Working groups

Within the Health Threat Unit, there are seven working groups responsible for various aspects of bio-defense:

  • Preparedness and response planning
  • Chemical threats
  • Prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine
  • Incident investigation and sampling
  • Medicinal products
  • Co-operation between laboratories
  • Risk communication

See also


  • Threats to health (European Union)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Health_Threat_Unit_(European_Commission)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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