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EUROCAT: European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies

EUROCAT currently surveys over 1.7 million births per year in Europe (31% of the EU birth population), via 37 registries in 21 countries.

EUROCAT, in existence since 1979, lead and coordinated from the Centre for Maternal, Fetal and Infant Research since 2000, is a European network of geographically defined population-based registries (representing the unselected experience of all who live in the population) for the epidemiologic surveillance of congenital anomalies.

Congenital anomalies are a major cause of perinatal mortality, childhood morbidity and disability, with a total prevalence of 2.5% of births. Most congenital anomalies are rare diseases (<5 per 10,000 population). The live birth prevalence of rare congenital anomalies in 2010 was 96.2 per 10,000 births, extrapolating to approximately 4.7M affected persons in the EU, 12-15% of the total estimated persons affected by rare diseases.

EUROCAT' s mission is to support the primary prevention  of congenital anomalies and the provision of appropriate services to pregnant women, affected children and their families by the collection, analysis, interpretation and dissemination of population-based epidemiologic data. Epidemiological surveillance should inform policies and interventions to reduce the size of, and inequalities in, the public health burden of congenital anomalies.

The objectives of EUROCAT are:

  1. To provide essential epidemiologic information on congenital anomalies in Europe
  2. To facilitate early warning of new teratogenic exposures
  3. To evaluate the effectiveness of primary prevention
  4. To assess the impact of changes in prenatal screening
  5. To act as an information and resource centre for the population, health professionals and policy makers regarding clusters, exposures and risk factors of concern
  6. To provide a ready collaborative network and infrastructure for research related to causes and prevention of congenital anomalies and treatment and care of affected children
  7. To act as catalyst for the setting up of new registries in Europe collecting comparable, standardised data

EUROCAT Central Registry Staff within the Centre for Maternal, Fetal and Infant Research

Prof. Helen Dolk
Dr. Maria Loane
Mrs Ruth Greenlees
Dr. Rhonda Curran
Dr. Breidge Boyle
Dr. Nichola McCullough
Mrs Barbara Norton