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C 192 E/192 Official Journal of the European Union EN 14.8.

2003

(2003/C 192 E/231) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0470/03


by Dorette Corbey (PSE)
and Ria Oomen-Ruijten (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(20 February 2003)

Subject: Legionnaires’ disease

Is the Commission aware that the risk of legionella infection is greatest in the spring and autumn. Recently
there have been further deaths from legionnaires’ disease. In its answer to written question E-3875/00 (1),
the Commission proposed a two-pronged approach to combating legionnaires’ disease, based on
prevention and information. The EWGLI website referred to by the Commission gives details of the
number of reported cases of legionella infection. These are broken down by country for 1999, but not for
2000 and 2001.

1. What preventive measures has the Commission since taken to prevent legionnaires’ disease? How is
the Commission implementing the EWGLI guidelines in practice? How has the Commission promoted
research into a standard method of restricting biological growth in industrial wet air conditioning systems?

2. What will be the role of the planned European Centre for Disease Control?

3. Can the Commission provide information on the number of outbreaks by Member State and the
number of victims?

4. Does the Commission think that sufficient publicity has been given to the list of hotels in which
legionella infection has been found. Does the Commission consider that this list of hotels is comprehensive
enough?

5. How does the Commission intend to improve the information given to the public, and tourists in
particular?

(1) OJ C 163 E, 6.6.2001, p. 219.

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(25 March 2003)

1. The Commission refers the Honourable Members to its reply to written question E-3197/02 by
Mrs Oomen Ruijten (1). The Commission is of the opinion that application by Member States surveillance
authorities of the guidelines agreed by EWGLI will improve the consistency of approach in the control and
prevention of legionnaires’ disease between European countries. These guidelines will be published in an
appropriate form later in 2003.

The current Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption (2) does not cover the issue
of Legionella; but in the frame of the revision process of this Directive, the Commission intends to initiate
a discussion with Member States on the relevance of including, in the future, this parameter in the
Directive.

With regard to research, the Commission recently promoted research through the financing of a project on
the design and operation of hot water systems and application for on site electrochemically generated
chlorine dioxide for control of Legionella.

2. The Commission would expect that any Centre that might be created would have responsibilities in
organising surveillance, early warning and rapid response.

3. The requested information is available. The Commission is pleased to send direct to the Honourable
Members and to the Secretariat of the Parliament, a summary for the years 2001 and 2002. Additional
information can be abstracted from the public EWGLI web site (3).
14.8.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 192 E/193

4. and 5. The Commission requires that Ewglinet systematically informs the national authorities whose
responsibility it is to take action. Following a strict procedure Ewglinet also posts names of hotels on the
web that is open to the general public, including tour operators. If other Community actions were
necessary this would be included in the framework of the Community Network on communicable diseases.

(1) OJ C 137 E, 12.6.2003, p. 171.


(2) Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for human consumption 
OJ L 330, 5.12.1998.
(3) http://www.ewgli.org/.

(2003/C 192 E/232) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0489/03


by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(21 February 2003)

Subject: Registration of the DNA of new-born babies

Calls are currently being made in Italy for the example set by the United Kingdom, which has been
registering the DNA of new-born babies for two years now, to be followed in that country. On the one
hand, it is claimed that such registration will help scientific research into unknown diseases and, on the
other, that it could, in the view of the Commandant of the Police Forensic Science Unit, result in a 20 %
increase in the crime clear-up rate.

To what extent are surveys being carried out by the Commission in this field which show the advantages
of such measures? Are the findings of any such surveys available? If so, what does the Commission intend
to do about the implementation thereof in law?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(8 April 2003)

The Community action programme on public health 2003-2008 does not include studies on testing
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for new-born babies. It does however include activities on sexual and
reproductive health, on health monitoring, and on rare diseases, which while not corresponding to DNA
testing, may have some relevance. The legal basis of Article 152 of the Treaty on which the public health
programme is based, directs this programme towards improving public health, preventing human diseases
and disorders and obviating sources of danger to health with a view to combating morbidity and
premature mortality, while taking gender and age into consideration. To fulfill this aim, actions should be
guided by the need to increase life expectancy without disability or sickness, promote quality of life and
minimise the economic and social consequences of ill health. A call for proposals has recently been
published for projects to be supported under this programme.

(2003/C 192 E/233) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0497/03


by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(21 February 2003)

Subject: Anabolic drugs and children’s health

In certain Italian cities (Milan and Turin in particular) there has been an abnormal increase in the number
of cases of early puberty, a condition which mainly affects children aged between four and six and (in
certain cases reported in the press) even babies just a few months old. It is possible that the increase is
linked to the consumption of baby foods or meat derived from animals which have been treated with
anabolic drugs (even though such a link is not scientifically proven), since the problem has arisen only in
the last few years.