P2. Communicable Disease Prevention, Surveillance and Control (PREVICET)

The purpose of the programme is to carry out collaborative and interdisciplinary research in the field relating to the surveillance, prevention and control of those communicable diseases that have a greater impact on the community. Communicable diseases are understood as being those diseases that are transmitted by specific infectious agents or their toxins and can be transmitted from a person, animal or inanimate source to a susceptible human host.

Strategic objectives

  • Improve scientific knowledge in connection with communicable diseases for the purpose of enabling health authorities to carrying out the most effective and efficient interventions based on the best available evidence.
  • Generate scientific knowledge about communicable diseases so that it can be used to support actions taken by the Health Administration.
  • The handling of epidemic outbreaks and the effectiveness and efficiency of those interventions made will be evaluated from the Public Health service perspective.
  • A new group will be added to the programme in 2015 to strengthen research activities by means of an official call for proposals, public tender, of the ISCIII.

Lines of Research

  • Flu
  • Vaccine-preventable diseases having a viral aetiology (measles, mumps and rubella) or a bacterial one (whooping cough, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal disease)
  • Epidemic outbreaks
  • Tuberculosis-HIV. Influence of smoking
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Emerging and re-emerging diseases
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Strategic Subprogrammes

1. Flu Surveillance, Prevention and Control

The general objective is to drive collaborative research in the study of the effectiveness of flu vaccines for preventing confirmed infection in cases of mild flu and hospitalization due to flu and flu complications, as well as the factors associated with risk group vaccination. The priority line is to drive the research on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine to reduce the burden of disease.

PREVICET groups 01 and 12, together with other CIBERESP researchers from other programmes (groups 11 and 17) are currently participating in a FIS project, PI12/02079, the purpose of which is to investigate the effectiveness of flu and 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines to prevent hospitalization due to pneumonia and the flu in the ≥65 year-old population. For this project, cases and controls are being recruited from 19 hospitals distributed in 7 Spanish Regions (Andalusia, Basque Country, Castilla y Leon, Catalonia, Community of Valencia, Madrid and Navarre). After analysing the results of the 2013-2014 season, manuscripts are being prepared to be sent to scientific journals, and the cases and controls for the second season (2014-2015) are being recruited.

Group 32 is leading a FIS project, PI13/02123, in which researchers from PREVICET Group 01 and from other CIBERESP groups (groups 11 and 28), as well as research and surveillance groups belonging to all the regions of Spain are also participating. This project considers the use of already established surveillance and healthcare structures to provide critical information in public health decision-making in connection with flu prevention strategies. This project is supported by the prior experience of several of the research groups that have been involved in the European I-MOVE (Influenza monitoring vaccine effectiveness in the European Union and European Economic Area) network since 2008 for monitoring the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in Europe. The objective of the FIS project is to evaluate the protective value of the flu vaccine against mild flu cases in which reporting primary care physicians are consulted and against the risk of hospitalization due to a serious case of flu confirmed in hospitalised patients. The information provided will be useful for strengthening the decisions that are made with respect to the annual flu vaccine immunization campaigns in Spain.

Specific objectives:

  • Drive research on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine to prevent the burden of disease.
  • Drive research on the effectiveness of the flu vaccine against mild and serious cases of the flu, in early stages of the flu epidemic outbreak and provide information about the protection of the vaccine by flu virus type/subtype, as well as in different age groups and risk groups. The developed platform must be flexible enough to offer estimates of the effectiveness of the flu vaccine in a flu pandemic.
  • Drive the research on factors associated with seasonal flu vaccination coverage in the ≥ 65 year-old population.
  • Drive research on factors associated with the seasonal flu vaccination coverage in the < 65 year-old population belonging to risk groups.
  • Drive research on factors associated with the seasonal flu vaccination coverage in healthcare workers.

2. Vaccine-preventable Diseases having a Viral or Bacterial Aetiology

The general objective is to enhance collaborative research on measles, mumps, rubella, and meningococcal disease to improve epidemiological surveillance and control by means of vaccination programmes.

With respect to the mumps, the situation is quite different because the incidence is much higher due to lower vaccination effectiveness. However, in meningococcal and pneumococcal diseases current vaccines do not cover all serogroups.

A collaborative project granted in the FIS 2011 (project PI11/02557) call for proposals has been carried out. Researchers from groups G01, G11 and G12, and from the Paediatric Infectious Disease Research Group of Hospital San Juan de Dios de Esplugues participated in this project. The objective was to investigate sources of infection and secondary transmission rates for whooping cough in Catalonia and Navarre.

3. Epidemic Outbreaks

The general objective is to provide further knowledge about epidemic outbreaks occurring in the community, the associated factors and the effectiveness of the implemented prevention and control measures. The priority lines are to: investigate the characteristics, associated factors and costs of outbreaks of communicable diseases having a significant impact on the community, as well as evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented control measures.

4. Tuberculosis (TB)

TB is an old disease that still represents a public health issue because the innovations in TB are limited: treatments and diagnostic tests dating back more than 40 years are still being used. Fortunately, a few novelties have been introduced in recent years: the determination of interferon as an alternative to the conventional tuberculin skin test to diagnose tuberculous infection, or the GenXpert test for the rapid diagnosis of cases, as well as a drug for the treatment of patients with drug resistances. The general objective of the subprogramme is to relate research and control as a means of improving the epidemiological situation of TB in Spain.

  • Influence of the economic crisis in the epidemiology of TB.
  • Evaluation of control programmes.
  • Estimate the importance of tobacco smoke in the risk of tuberculous infection and disease.
  • Follow-up on HIV-infected TB patients to determine the incidence of lung or liver cancer and analyse survival.

5. Viral Hepatitis Surveillance, Prevention and Control

The general objective is to conduct collaborative research in the field of viral hepatitis surveillance, prevention and control.

6. Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases

Emerging diseases are those which did not exist in our geographical area (rabies, Chikungunya, Ebola, lymphogranuloma venereum, among others), and re-emerging diseases are diseases that already existed but in recent years have experienced an increase in incidence (whooping cough, gonorrhoea, syphilis). The general objective is to evaluate the impact of emerging and re-emerging diseases on public health in Spain.

7. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

The incidence of STIs is increasing in Europe, especially in large cities where the influence of transmission between certain groups of men who have sex with men (MSM) is noted. The general objectives are to improve epidemiological knowledge of STIs in the general population and in vulnerable groups, improve prevention and control and adapt reporting systems.


Attached Groups

See spanish website for furher information about research groups participating in this program.

Attached groups (Spanish)