A report prepared for the European Commission by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) concludes that the EU has made major progress in preparing against an influenza pandemic - but it still has at least two more years of work to do.
The report states that additional efforts need to be made in areas such as: consistency of planning across all government departments; implementation at local level; co-ordination at European level; research on influenza; and response to seasonal influenza.
Commenting on the report ECDC Director Zsuzsanna Jakab said: "Since 2005 health authorities across the EU have put major efforts into improving their preparedness against a pandemic. This has been an almost unprecedented response against a threat that has yet to come. The challenge now is for governments and EU bodies to sustain the momentum for a further two or three years, to do the work identified in this report. If this is done, then EU countries will be in a position to respond well to a pandemic."
The report finds that while since 2005 considerable progress has been achieved, including the production of national plans work by Member States with the Commission and ECDC to improve levels of preparedness, it states that it will be two to three more years before the level of preparedness needed to respond well to a pandemic.
A further progress report is planned for late 2007.