A good understanding of the disease status of wildlife is important for many reasons:
Historically a number of institutes in the Netherlands have worked on different aspects of wildlife health. However, a central point for questions or concerns related to wildlife health, research and monitoring activities was non-existent. In addition, not all areas of wildlife health were addressed. This led to the initiation of the Dutch Wildlife Health Centre (DWHC) in April 2002, under the auspices of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Utrecht University, the Institute of Virology of the Erasmus MC Rotterdam and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries (LNV).
Originally the DWHC was part of the Erasmus Medical Centre, but in 2008 it joined forces with the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Utrecht Veterinary School and was officially opened on the 7th January 2009.
The DWHC is jointly funded by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University.
The scientific advisory board of the DWHC consists of representatives from several Dutch organisations that are involved with animal and public health and the environment. Currently these institutions include the RIVM (Bilthoven), the WBVR, (Lelystad), the GD (Deventer), WUR (Wageningen), Erasmus MC (Rotterdam), the NVWA (Utrecht), Sovon Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology (SOVON) and the Dutch Mammal Society. Representatives of institutions involved in wildlife and environmental management are invited to join the commission.