National Reference Centers and Consultant Laboratories in Infectious Diseases
Since 1995, the Federal Ministry for Health and Social Security has appointed, in the course of restructuring the sector of infection epidemiology in Germany, several national reference centres (Nationale Referenzzentren, NRZ) to survey important infectious pathogens. Which reference centres are appointed depends upon the epidemiological relevance of the pathogens, the special diagnostics required, and upon matters of resistance and measures of protection from infection.
In order to provide scientific consultation on the greatest possible spectrum of pathogens, additional consultant laboratories are put forward by scientific societies to cover additional pathogens and appointed by the head of the Robert Koch Institute in accordance with the Commission of Infection Epidemiology (Kommission Infektionsepidemiologie). The emphasis is on providing advice, in particular when questions exceed the routine level. In addition, diagnostic services can be offered.
The special edition of the Epidemiological Bulletin lists the national Reference Centres and Consultant Laboratories currently appointed and the scope of services and consultations offered.