Emergencies preparedness, response



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).

Working group Chair
1. Clinical management Dr Arne Tärnvik, Sweden
2. Epidemiology and surveillance Dr Anders Sjöstedt, Sweden
3. Diagnostics Dr May Chu, USA
4. Outbreak/emergency response Dr Roland Grunow, Germany
5. Research 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.