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Unit 35: Gastrointestinal Infections, Zoonoses and Tropical Infections

N. N.
Hendrik Wilking

The unit is concerned with a broad spectrum of gastrointestinal, zoonotic, and tropical pathogens. Our remit includes the surveillance of infectious diseases and studies on etiology, causes and spread of super-regional outbreaks of disease. In addition, we conduct scientific studies in infectious disease epidemiology regarding frequency and risk factors for common endemic infections. In order to identify potential threats early and to allow timely reactions, we are evaluating the current epidemiological state of affairs in Germany in the context of the international situation. We inform and advise medical professionals and public institutions regarding measures for the surveillance, prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases.


  • National level analysis and scientific evaluation of the data on gastrointestinal infections, zoonoses, and tropical infections. Perceived data-signals are quickly shared with the public health service, veterinary authorities, the federal ministry, public health professionals.
  • Detection of super-regional outbreaks (e.g. foodborne outbreaks) and importations of rare and highly pathogenic infections. This includes utilization of pathogen-sequencing information in the context of matching epidemiological data (integrated genomic surveillance). We coordinate and support outbreak investigations in collaboration with laboratories (e.g. national reference centers, counceling labs), state offices, local health, veterinary and environmental authorities (One Health strategy).
  • Evaluation of international information on infectious disease occurrence in the context of the German epidemiological situation.
  • Communication of evaluations on the German epidemiological situation to international authorities (e.g. ECDC).
  • Planning and conduct of epidemiological studies on disease burden, patterns of spread of infections, and risk factors as well as impact of intervention and control measures.
  • Studies on the incidence of imported infectious diseases (e.g. malaria, dengue fever) as well as (zoonotic) pathogens new and novel-to-Germany (e.g. Bornavirus-encephalitis, West-Nile-Virus).
  • Development of concepts and recommendations for the control and prevention of zoonoses and food-borne infections.
  • Epidemiological situation and risk assessments as well as studies regarding climate (change) and infections.
  • Participation in national and international networks, for example:

    • Consortium projects of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
    • EU-network on Food- and Water-borne Diseases (FWD at ECDC)
    • EU-network on Emerging and Vector-borne diseases (EVD at ECDC)
  • Providing formal advice and expertise for the public health service, health actors and (professional) organizations on the whole spectrum of gastrointestinal infections, zoonoses, and tropical infections.

    • Representation of the RKI in the National Expert Group "Mosquitos as disease vectors".
    • Representation of the RKI in the National Commission on the Evaluation of pest control substances.

Teaching/Training activities

Members of the unit fill various teaching engagements at the Charité (Berlin School of Public Health) and contribute to trainings for members of the public health service (e.g. for the 'Akademie für Öffentliches Gesundheitswesen').

Our Publications

Unit 35 publications on PubMed

Date: 06.03.2024