For some well-known pathogens like influenza or RSV, diagnostic and epidemiological data is available and continuously complement each other. For most other pathogens however, data is not always available or severely delayed. Furthermore, clinical data is needed to assess the burden of disease, which will enhance awareness and help to gain knowledge on emerging pathogens. In this position paper, we discuss the interdependence of diagnostics and epidemiology from a European perspective. In 2004, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) was founded to coordinate European wide surveillance and control. At present however, the ECDC still relies on university hospitals, public health institutions and other diagnostic institutions. Close collaboration between all stakeholders across Europe is therefore complex, but necessary to optimize the system for the individual patient. From the diagnostic side, data on detected pathogens should be shared with relevant health institutions in real-time. From the public health side, collected information should be made accessible for diagnostic and clinical institutions in real-time. Subsequently, this information needs to be disseminated across relevant medical disciplines to reach its full potential.
- Diagnostic stewardship