Collaborating centres

Networks of WHO Collaborating Centres

Communicable Diseases

The Global Network of WHO CCs working on Communicable Diseases

WHO has established a long-standing global partnership with leading national public health, medical and academic institutions that have been designated as WHO Collaborating Centres. Currently there are over 150 WHOCCs and laboratories worldwide that work in close partnership with Epidemic and Pandemic Alert Response (EPR) to contain the global threats posed by epidemic-prone viral bacterial and diseases, emerging infections and pathogens. Between three to ten centres are designated for an area of specialty, disease or syndrome and support our work in that area.

The partnerships include networks of centres designated for specialty areas as diverse as influenza, dengue, arbovirus and viral haemorrhagic fevers, pox viruses, rickettsial diseases, meningitis, plague, emerging infectious diseases, biosafety, travel health, field epidemiology and hospital infections etc.

The centres provide technical expertise and services to EPR in all areas of our work, including surveillance and information gathering, establishing global standards, providing diagnostic laboratory services and conducting epidemic response and research. They participate actively in our efforts to strengthen the capacity in countries for surveillance and laboratory confirmation of priority infectious diseases through provision of training, guidelines and standards, reagents, equipment and supplies, advice and follow-up. They also advocate for WHO strategies and activities.

EPR links its Collaborating Centres via the Internet through WHOCCNet a searchable database of their capabilities making this information widely available to the centres, the WHO Member States, the public health community and the public.

Influenza: Since the first WHO Collaborating Centres on influenza were designated in the 1950s, the network has been providing long-lasting contributions to the understanding of influenza epidemiology, the WHO annual recommendation of influenza vaccine compositions and, since 1997, the early detection of influenza viruses with pandemic potential. The network, presenting influenza expertise in the world, is the core component of the WHO global influenza pandemic preparedness and the WHO Global Influenza Programme.