National Reference Centre

[Translate to english:] Mirkoskopische Ansicht von Infektionserregern der Labordiagnostik am BNITM: Bakterien, Parasiten, Viren, Würmer, etc.

The BNITM serves as national reference centre (NRC) for tropical pathogens as assigned by the Robert Koch Institute on behalf on the Federal Ministry of Health. The NRC is responsible for the diagnostic testing of a broad spectrum of infectious agents that are endemic in tropical and subtropical regions and imported by travellers and migrants. These pathogens include arboviruses, haemorrhagic fever viruses, protozoa, helminths, and tropical bacteria such as M. leprae or M. ulcerans and rickettsiae. For many of these agents no commercial tests are available.

The NRC develops new diagnostic assays for these tropical and unusual pathogens and it regularly participates in and organizes national and international quality assurance trials. The NRC runs a 24h emergency service for rapid diagnostics for cases of suspected viral haemorrhagic fever. Moreover, the NRC investigates unclear cases of human infections and outbreaks, and aids in establishing a diagnosis. In the recent past, the NRC has contributed to the detection of a novel zoonotic bornavirus and it was one of the first centres world-wide to describe the beginning Zikavirus epidemic in Brazil.

The NRC has established a registry for infection with Entamoeba histolytica, since infections with this agent are not notifiable by law and there is little knowledge about their incidence. A surveillance programme for arboviruses and mosquito vectors is maintained that has led to the detection of epizootic spread of imported infections in Germany.

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Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine

Laboratory Diagnostics, 

P. O. Box 50 06 40,

D-20324 Hamburg, Germany

Fax: +49 40 42818-252
E-Mail: labordiagnostik(at)

Consulting for physicians

Mo – Fr  9 am – 12 pm and 1 – 5 pm

Prof. Dennis Tappe, MD,

Board-Certified for Laboratory Medicine,  Board-Certified for Microbiology, Virology,  and Infection Epidemiology,  Board-Certified for Infectiology
Tel. +49 40 42818-499



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