Supporting capacity building for surveillance of Clostridium difficile infections at European level (2010-2014)
Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) are an important healthcare problem across Europe. To improve recognition and awareness, and to enable surveillance at a European level, the European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) funded an upcoming project to enhance laboratory capacity for CDI detection and surveillance in Europe (2010-2014). This project will not be a duplication of the previous European Clostridium difficile infection study (ECDIS), but instead will be used to strengthen the network and capacity building for CDI surveillance on national and European level. We have therefore called the new project "European Clostridium difficile infection surveillance network (ECDIS-net)".
After the recognition of a new hypervirulent Clostridium difficile strain, PCR ribotype 027, in 2005 in Europe, the ESCMID Study Group on Clostridium difficile (ESGCD) contacted ECDC leading to several actions. A background document on CDI was written, guidance documents were published, and a first pan-European surveillance study, the “European Clostridium Infection Survey (ECDIS)” was performed in 2008-2009. Results of this study have been published in Lancet (Bauer et al. Clostridium difficile infection in Europe: a hospital-based survey. Lancet. 2011;377:63-73). Based on the results of the ECDIS study, it was decided to provide support for further capacity building for surveillance of CDI across Europe.
We have built a consortium of experts in the field of CDI including microbiologists, epidemiologists and molecular biologists, who are all in close contact with or are part of their respective National Institutes of Health, and who are active in surveillance studies of C. difficile. Capacity building will be achieved by enhancing the laboratory capacity for CDI in European MS, by establishing a European ribotyping nomenclature, a comprehensive reference collection of strains (including a web-based database), and by developing a European CDI surveillance protocol. Representatives from all European member states will have the opportunity to attend a workshop for microbiological characterization and typing of C. difficile, and will receive a set of standard type C. difficile strains. Review of existing CDI surveillance protocols and literature will be used to develop an enhanced CDI surveillance protocol, which will be tested in a feasibility study in the final year of this project in six European countries. Implementation of training modules will be monitored and quality control assessments are regularly performed. Three general annual meetings will be organised to progress the deliverables of the project. The consortium will also work in close collaboration with 11 participants from 10 European countries who are experienced in national surveillance studies and molecular bacterial typing.
The coordinators of the ECDIS-network:
- Dr. Ed J. Kuijper, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands
- Prof. dr. Mark. H. Wilcox, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Leeds & Health Protection Agency, England, United Kingdom
- Dr. Daan W. Notermans, Centre for Infectious Disease Control, RIVM, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
- Dr. Val Hall, Anaerobe Reference Laboratory, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom
- Prof. dr. Petra Gastmeier, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany
- Dr. Carl Suetens and Dr. Klaus Weist, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden
Central contact point for the ECDIS-network:
- Dept. of Medical Microbiology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands
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