The overall objective of the original European Mortality Monitoring Project was to design a routine public health mortality monitoring system aimed at detecting and measuring, on a real-time basis, excess number of deaths related to influenza and other possible public health threats across participating European Countries.

This objective was targeted in a DG Sanco supported project that ran from 2008-2011. During the three years, multiple partners from a number of European countries were engaged in developing a coordinated approach to doing exactly this: real-time standardised mortality monitoring across Europe. This was done through five technical work packages that were concerned with developing:

  • An inventory of existing mortality monitoring systems
  • Identification and definition of core attributes and minimal requirements for a mortality monitoring system
  • Retrospective analysis of mortality data to explore mortality dynamics (changes, trends, etc.) in different European settings as well as the underlying events that determine these dynamics. Also the added value of pooling mortality data from several European countries was looked into. Using historical mortality, morbidity and environmental data from different European countries and outputs from the inventory and the minimal requirements, data was analysed using a variety of epidemiological and statistical techniques including regression techniques and other time-series analysis approaches, in order to explore the contribution of different infectious events (e.g., influenza) or non-infectious (e.g., temperature) events to mortality.
  • Identification of a uniform analytical approach
  • Piloting of a consensus system for real-time mortality modelling in several European countries.
Methods included a questionnaire survey to EU member states; a literature review; analysis of national mortality datasets using state-of-the-art statistical models and operation of the pilot consensus system built upon these activities.
Since 2009 the system has been in operation and is continuously being applied in countries that meet the minimal requirements.

During the 2009/2010 influenza A(H1N1) pandemic, the EuroMOMO network demonstrated how a timely, standardised and coordinated approach to mortality monitoring increases the European capacity to assess the impact of events with a potential impact on public health. Without EuroMOMO, Europe would have been less well prepared for the pandemic. In addition, EuroMOMO was pivotal to facilitate country-specific in-depth analyses of influenza-associated mortality in general or the impact of the pandemic more specifically.

Our mission is to reinforce the EU's preparedness to respond to potential risk of all hazards by a continued operation of the EuroMOMO network which ensures quality checked, standardised weekly mortality monitoring. The vision is further to extend the collaboration by adding new countries to the network and to continuously explore the potential of timely mortality data. By conducting regular network activities, partners will learn and exchange best practice on how to apply data from real-time mortality monitoring for risk assessment, in particular as regards cross-border threats and the management of the public health response to emergencies.