Bacterial meningitis and gastrointestinal diseases

Unit responsible: 

Detecting and investigating outbreaks to mitigate their impact on health

We host four National Reference Centres (NRC) performing ISO 17025/15189 laboratory-based surveillance of four important bacterial diseases:

  • salmonellosis in humans – typhoid and paratyphoid fevers included and shigellosis – bacillary dysentery included
  • listeriosis
  • meningococcal disease
  • Yersinia

The aim of our national surveillance programme is to document the occurrence and trends of serovars, to detect and investigate local, regional, national or even international outbreaks, to identify and eliminate the source(s), and to recommend preventive actions. Belgium is one of the first countries which introduced the whole-genome sequencing in the surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes and Neisseria meningitidis, and in outbreak investigation of Salmonella and Shigella.

Want to know more?

We receive human clinical isolates from more than 160 clinical laboratories spread over the country. In our daily workflows, we focus on :

  • detecting and confirming the pathogen identified from human samples
  • confirming the diagnosis of the peripheral laboratory and identifying the serotype of the isolate
  • performing genetic studies to rapidly identify the relationships between isolates in case of outbreaks, complaints or severe disease
  • establishing annual national baseline incidence data
  • executing part of the official zoonosis monitoring programme for Belgium in order to comply with EU regulations (92 / 117 / EC, 2003 / 99 / EC and EC / 2160 / 2003)
  • continuously improving our methods, according to the latest state-of-the-art techniques (Whole-Genome Sequencing, MALDI-TOF, etc.)
  • performing  scientific research (concentration of expertise and national and international representation)

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