The main objective of the WHO project is currently to establish standard procedures relating to tularaemia and disseminate information. A second objective will also be implemented at a later date: establishing a global network of diagnostic laboratories with defined capacities for tularaemia.
Production of international guidance on tularaemia
It was agreed at a WHO meeting Improving public health preparedness for and response to the threat of epidemics: tularaemia network (Bath, United Kingdom, 14–15 September 2003), that that there is a need for international guidance on tularaemia, aimed at public health, veterinary, and laboratory personnel.
A small working group will be established for each of the five topics discussed at the meeting, to examine the issues in detail. The chair of each working group was agreed upon (see box below).
1. Clinical management
Dr Arne Tärnvik, Sweden
2. Epidemiology and surveillance
Dr Anders Sjöstedt, Sweden
Dr May Chu, USA
4. Outbreak/emergency response
Dr Roland Grunow, Germany
Dr Richard Titball, United Kingdom
Network of tularaemia diagnostic laboratories
Future activities will include establishing a network of diagnostic laboratories with defined capacities for tularaemia, primarily as an information-gathering exercise. This would identify the laboratories which currently work on tularaemia and ascertain their capacities. As the network becomes established, its scope could be expanded, under the direction of the Diagnostics working group.