Eurosurveillance scientific seminar

Seminar. © Istockphoto

8th Eurosurveillance scientific seminar at ESCAIDE 2019

Point-of-care testing (POCT) and its impact on surveillance of communicable diseases and public health

Room: Magasinet

27 November 2019, 12:40–14:30


12:40–12:50       Arrival of participants

Please make your way to the seminar room, where vegetarian/ vegan lunch will be served, and join us for the talks at 12:50.


12:50–13:00       Welcome notes

Professor Nick Phin, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom


13:00–13:30       Infectious disease POC testing: ready or not, here it comes

Dr Susan M. Poutanen, University Health Network & Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, and University of Toronto, Canada


13:30–14:00       Infectious disease POC testing: how to translate into public health benefits

Professor Marc Struelens, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden


14:00–14:30     Questions and answers


Diagnostic devices for testing close to the patient, frequently by healthcare workers who may or may not have specific laboratory training, or for self-testing, are becoming increasingly available. Self-testing approaches increase accessibility and confidentiality, which individuals may perceive as a benefit. Point-of-care testing (POCT) makes testing easier and produces more rapid results, which enables timely clinical decisions and treatment as well as the implementation of infection prevention and control measures.

These advantages have led to increased interest in POCT not only among clinicians but also among public health experts and public health decision makers.

However, the incorrect use of tests can affect their accuracy and the quality, sensitivity and specificity of different tests can vary. Limitations of rapid diagnostics could have important consequences for individual and public health and thus appropriateness of use should be ensured. Aside from appropriate standards and accreditation of tests, self-tested patients need to be linked to care, and policies should be in place to address these varying aspects.

Furthermore, capturing results from POCT and self-testing devices in a systematic and comprehensive manner is a challenge for epidemiological surveillance. For reference and public health laboratories, the possible limited availability of referred samples and/or isolates resulting from POCT and self-testing could impact on the detection of transmission events, identification of emerging new strains, infection source attribution, monitoring antimicrobial resistance patterns, etc.

The 8th Eurosurveillance scientific seminar will be moderated by Professor Nick Phin from Public Health England. Speakers are Dr Susan M. Poutanen from University Health Network & Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, and University of Toronto, Canada, and Professor Marc Struelens, Chief Microbiologist at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden. In her talk, Susan Poutanen will provide examples from POCT practice in Canada and raise quality assurance and ethical questions. Marc Struelens will raise questions about the different uses of the POCT term, the regulation of POCT devices, their limitations as culture-independent technology and the challenges and potential benefits for public health, from a European perspective.

Eurosurveillance invites the audience to take an active part in the discussion by sharing experiences and expressing views.



Since 2011, Eurosurveillance has been organising a lunchtime scientific seminar at ESCAIDE. See previous years’ programmes, speakers and moderators here