One of the agency's tasks is to work with preparedness for different threats to public health. Global travel and international trade means that more and more diseases spread and adapt to local conditions.
Sweden participates in the growing international efforts to improve preparedness for public health threats. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has the overall national responsibility to report health threats internationally and to protect the population against communicable diseases.
24 hour preparedness
The Public Health Agency of Sweden is on constant standby through a Duty Officer (TiB) on call 24/7. We are also able to perform diagnostics with the ability to analyse samples of suspected severe infections every day around the clock. Methods, equipment and knowledge must be of the highest international quality to ensure that diagnostics and advice are always of the highest quality. The Agency has the only high-containment laboratory at biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) in the Nordic countries, which is an important part of national preparedness.
In order to track and fight communicable diseases, over 60 diseases are monitored via the reporting received in accordance with law and through voluntary notification. All reported cases of these diseases are registered and analysed. This gives the Public Health Agency of Sweden an overview of the epidemiological situation in the country and makes it possible to track and break the chain of infection during an outbreak.
County Medical Officers and many other actors across the country are another important part of the chain to ensure that the country is well protected from infections.
The International Health Regulations
The International Health Regulations, IHR, are based on a national and international collaboration among the Member States of the WHO in order to – as soon as possible – detect and limit the spread of infectious diseases and substances that may pose an international threat to human health. IHR covers all serious health threats – chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats (CBRN) – regardless of whether they spread accidentally or intentionally.
According the law, the Public Health Agency of Sweden is responsible for coordinating the preparedness against serious health threats. The agency has also been appointed the national focal point.
All municipalities, regions and agencies that receive information about a suspected or confirmed incident that may pose an international threat to human health must immediately notify the Duty Officer at the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The agency must then determine whether there may be an international threat to human health, and if so, notify the WHO within 24 hours. The Public Health Agency of Sweden is also obligated to provide feedback and inform the relevant agencies, municipalities and county counties of the measures that have been taken.