Human health is threatened by a wide variety of pathogens transmitted from animals to humans causing diseases in humans. Effective and efficient policy-making on control, prevention and surveillance of these zoonoses requires focusing on the most relevant ones.
In 2007, a two-year research project, concerned with developing a blueprint for the early warning of Emerging Zoonoses (EmZoo project) started with the formation of a consortium consisting of the following partners:
- Animal Health Services (GD).
- Central Veterinary Institute,(CVI/WUR),
- Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Utrecht (FD/UU), and
- National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)
Priority setting is an important aspect of the EmZoo consortium. It is a multi-dimensional problem, in which technical information is often intertwined with value judgments. For emerging infectious diseases, the priority setting process is complicated. Often an emerging infection is still only a threat and essential information for the Dutch or even the European situation may not be available as there is no endemic or epidemic disease burden. Therefore, priority setting of emerging infections diseases, including zoonoses, will have to be done on grounds of a broader set of criteria and expert opinions, where possible including data from the available literature. The prioritized list indicates: which emerging zoonotic pathogens on the list poses the largest threat to public health in the Netherlands. The likelihood of pathogens to emerge is one, but not the only, criterion.