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Department 1: Infectious Diseases

Martin Mielke
Annette Mankertz

The Department of Infectious Diseases at the Robert Koch Institute studies bacterial and viral pathogens, the inactivation of microorganisms and immunological defence mechanisms against infection. Different microbiological pathogens and their properties are analysed by the individual working groups. This includes pathogen-specific characteristics that influence the spread of pathogens and diseases they induce, particularly with regard to changes in the pathogen and the development of new properties such as antibiotic-resistance. The department's work is predominantly laboratory-oriented and involves both serological and molecular-biological aspects of the field. As well as studying the the properties of the pathogens the research groups also investigate the host's susceptibility to infection and the ability of the immune system to control or eliminate the microorganisms. In addition, inactivation of infectious agents and aspects of hospital hygiene are studied in collaboration with other groups at the RKI. The working groups of the department are, like the project groups, supported by the use of imaging technologies, in particular electron microscopy.

Tasks (Official duties)

The Ministry of Health's National Advisory Committee 'Blood' has been located at the Robert Koch Institute since September 1993. This committee forms an independent national 'brain trust' that advises the federal and state governments, the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the Robert Koch Institute on all questions concerning the safety and efficiency of blood-product production, use, and monitoring. It provides a professional basis for blood donation and transfusion agencies.

The formation of the National Advisory Committee 'Blood' was a measure taken by the Ministry of Health to improve safety in the area of blood and blood products.

The recommendations of the National Advisory Committee 'Blood' influence practically all fundamental areas of blood products and of blood donation and transfusion agencies.

Involvement of Scientists from the Department of Infectious Diseases in Committees

  1. WHO-Influenza Centre, London
  2. European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS)
  3. European Sero-Epidemiology Network (ESEN)
  4. European Surveillance Network ENTER-NET
  5. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Influenza (AGI)
  6. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Masern (AGM)
  7. Paul-Ehrlich-Gesellschaft für Chemotherapie
  8. Advisory Board of the International Nosocomial Surveillance Program for Emerging Antimicrobial Resistance
  9. Subcommittee for phage typing staphylococci of the Intl. Union of Microbiological Societies
  10. Working group "Molecular epidemiological markers" of the European Society for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
  11. Arzneibuch-Kommission, Ausschuß Mikrobiologie,
  12. Umweltbundesamt, Arbeitskreis Biozid-Richtlinie
  13. Nationaler Normungsausschuß Medizin im DIN
    (Bereiche D1, D2, D3, D6, D7, D8, D9, E2, E6)
  14. Kommission für Krankenhaushygiene
  15. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hygiene und Mikrobiologie, Desinfektionsmittelkommission
  16. Deutsche Vereinigung zur Bekämpfung der Viruskrankheiten e.V., Kommission für Virusdesinfektion in der Humanmedizin
  17. Expertenkommission der Bundesärztekammer "Richtlinien zur Blutgruppenbestimmung und Bluttransfusion (Hämotherapie)"
  18. Expertenkommission der Bundesärztekammer "Richtlinien zur Herstellung spezifischer Immunglobuline (Plasma für besondere Zwecke)"
  19. Expertenkommission der Bundesärztekammer
    "Richtlinien für die Stammzelltransplantation"
  20. Europarat Expertengruppe "Transfusionsmedizin und Immunhämatologie SP-HM"
    Europarat Coordinated Blood Transfusion Program

Date: 01.04.2011