Health Threat Unit

The Health Threat Unit of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection (European Commission), is responsible for terrorism surveillance and early warning of biological, chemical, and radiological threats within the European Union. The Health Threat Unit runs the Rapid Alert System, which conducts surveillance on communicable diseases and diseases caused by acts of bioterrorism. The surveillance data are coordinated and evaluated by the Health Emergency Operations Facility. Health threat information and warnings are sent to the member states by the Communication and Crisis Center (BICHAT) and the Security Office in Brussels, Belgium.

Criteria for notificationEdit

The BICHAT sends a warning to the EU member states, within one hour of receiving a warning, when there is:

  • Suspicion of danger
  • Internationally relevant events; need for a complex response
  • Need for coordination (investigative and control actions)
  • Suspicion of deliberate action of a terrorist organization
  • Risk of trans-frontier spread of the agent/event
  • Need for assistance from other countries

Other responsibilitiesEdit

Besides bioterrorism, the Health Threat Unit also has responsibility for other reportable diseases:

Working groupsEdit

Within the Health Threat Unit, there are seven working groups responsible for various aspects of bio-defense:

  • Preparedness and response planning
  • Chemical threats
  • Prudent use of antimicrobial agents in human medicine
  • Incident investigation and sampling
  • Medicinal products
  • Co-operation between laboratories
  • Risk communication

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit