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ZBS 7: Strategy and Incident Response

Christian Herzog
Claudia Schulz-Weidhaas

The responsibility of ZBS 7 - Strategy and Incident Response is to strengthen national public health preparedness and response capabilities to biological threats caused by highly pathogenic or bioterrorism-related agents ("special pathogens"). ZBS 7 provides support for the public health sector regarding recognition, situation assessment and response to unusual biological incidents related to bioterrorism or any natural occurrence or accidental release of highly pathogenic agents. Key activities are:


Subject area ZBS 7.1: Clinical management and Infection Control

Head: Michaela Niebank

  • Development of concepts and training on functional and procedural hygiene management for dealing with patients who are ill due to highly pathogenic pathogens or biological toxins.
  • Design of risk mitigation strategies and protective measures.
  • Recommendations and guidelines for disinfection and decontamination (with ZBS 1- 3 and FG 14)
  • Needs analysis for vaccines and other medicines
  • Office of the Permanent Working Group of Competence and Treatment Centres for high consequence infectious diseases (STAKOB) at the RKI
  • Advising medical facilities on the occurrence of diseases caused by highly pathogenic pathogens and biological toxins (with STAKOB)
  • Preparation of therapy concepts for special pathogens, together with expert association and STAKOB
  • Advising WHO on clinical management of outbreaks of specific pathogens (with STAKOB)

Subject area ZBS 7.2: Incident Response, Operational Units

Head: Lukasz Bucki

  • Advice and support for federal and state authorities in assessing and dealing with unusual biological incidents
  • Systematic hazard and risk assessment of highly pathogenic and bio-terrorist agents
  • Provision of operational units who provide on-site support with the detection of specific pathogens (environmental sampling) and with operational crime scene investigation in a contaminated environment
  • Assessment of the situation in the event of exceptional biological threats and infection events of unclear cause in cooperation with the Department of Infection Epidemiology of the RKI
  • Recommendations and guidelines for sampling and detection (with ZBS 1 - 6)

Subject area ZBS 7.3: Communications Management

Head: Annegret Schneider

  • Provision of comprehensive, scientifically sound information for the expert public on the management of major biological incidents (e.g. framework concepts and flow charts)
  • Communication analysis and planning related to target groups, contents and media formats for special pathogens and major biological incidents
  • Conception of target group- and demand-specific instruments for the communication of relevant messages during major biological incidents

Contacts and cooperation

  • Central contact point of the RKI for national and international police and security authorities
  • Cooperation and exchange with federal institutions, including the Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, the Federal Criminal Police Office, the Federal Intelligence Service, institutes of the Federal Armed Forces
  • Competent non-police authority for biological incidents in the federal CBRN support network
  • Participation in the Federal CBRN Info Platform for the exchange of information on incidents involving biological substances
  • Contact with corresponding institutions in and outside the EU, as well as with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other UN agencies
  • Participation in international networks such as the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI)

Date: 27.02.2023