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At present, 5 National Reference Centres (NRCs) and 10 Consultant Laboratories (CLs) are situated to the RKI. Source: Günter Bredow/RKI

National Reference Centers and Consultant Laboratories

Public health microbiology laboratories play a central role in detecting infectious diseases, monitoring outbreak response and providing scientific evidence to prevent and control diseases. In 1995, in agreement with the German Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institute established a public health microbiology system consisting of national reference centers (NRCs) and consultant laboratories (CLs). The general goal of this system is to improve the efficiency of infection protection by advising the authorities on possible measures and to supplement infectious disease surveillance by monitoring selected pathogens that have high public health relevance.

National reference centres have important roles and responsibilities associated with accurate diagnosis, resistance testing and prevention of the spread of infectious disease. They establish and use reference methods and can validate and verify test results from other laboratories. NRCs also produce and distribute reference materials for external quality control and quality assurance.

Consultant laboratories focus primarily on guidance and advice for a specific pathogen to health professionals and the national public health services ("Öffentlicher Gesundheitsdienst", ÖGD). Additionally, specific diagnostic methods are available.

Currently, there are 20 NRCs and 38 CLs, each appointed for three years. These laboratories are considered national centers of excellence in the field of laboratory science for a particular pathogen or group of pathogens. Of these, 5 NRCs and 10 CLs are currently situated to the RKI; the others are located at various universities, federal or state institutes, private laboratories and research facilities in Germany, with one binational CL being based in Austria.

List of all NRCs and CLs

List of all national reference centres and consultant laboratories in Germany (in German)

NRCs and CLs at the Robert Koch Institute

consultant laboratory for Bacillus anthracisSilke Klee,
Daniela Jacob
Consultant laboratory for neurotoxin-producing clostridia (botulism, tetanus)Brigitte Dorner
Martin Dorner
consultant laboratory for electron microscopic diagnostics in infectious diseasesMichael LaueZBS 4
national reference centre for influenzaRalf Dürrwaldunit 17
consultant laboratory for Cryptococcosis and rare systemic mycosesVolker Rickertsunit 16
consultant laboratory for listeriaAntje Flieger
Sven Halbedel
unit 11
national reference centre for measles, mumps, rubellaAnnette Mankertz
Sabine Santibanez
unit 12
consultant laboratory for norovirusClaus-Thomas Bockunit 15
national reference centre for poliomyelitis and enterovirusesSabine Diedrichunit 15
consultant laboratory for RSV, parainfluenza viruses and metapneumovirusesJanine Reiche
Ralf Dürrwald
unit 17
national reference centre for salmonellosis and other enteric pathogens Antje Flieger
Angelika Fruth
unit 11
national reference centre for staphylococci and enterococciGuido Werner
Franziska Layer
unit 13
consultant laboratory for poxvirusesAndreas Nitsche
Livia Schrick
consultant laboratory for rotavirusClaus-Thomas Bockunit 15
consultant laboratory for tularemiaDaniela Jacob
Klaus Heuner

Date: 30.08.2021