West nile virus surveillance in Europe: Moving towards an integrated animal-human-vector approach
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Abstract: This article uses the experience of five European countries to review the integrated approaches (human, animal and vector) for surveillance and monitoring of West Nile virus (WNV) at national and European levels. The epidemiological situation of West Nile fever in Europe is heterogeneous. No model of surveillance and monitoring fits all, hence this article merely encourages countries to implement the integrated approach that meets their needs. Integration of surveillance and monitoring activities conducted by the public health authorities, the animal health authorities and the authorities in charge of vector surveillance and control should improve efficiency and save resources by implementing targeted measures. The creation of a formal interagency working group is identified as a crucial step towards integration. Blood safety is a key incentive for public health authorities to allocate sufficient resources for WNV surveillance, while the facts that an effective vaccine is available for horses and that most infected animals remain asymptomatic make the disease a lesser priority for animal health authorities. The examples described here can support other European countries wishing to strengthen their WNV surveillance or preparedness, and also serve as a model for surveillance and monitoring of other (vectorborne) zoonotic infections.