Sciensano & Botulism

Last updated on 22-2-2023 by Charlien Hupko

Sciensano is the National Reference Center (NRC) and the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for botulism. This means that the laboratory performs the diagnosis of human and animal botulism and the detection of C. botulinum in human and animal foodstuffs.

The NRC is the only laboratory in Belgium to perform laboratory diagnosis of human and animal botulism.

Biological diagnosis

the C. botulinum NRC performs analyses of human samples under ISO 15189 accreditation. The laboratory diagnosis of botulism is performed using the in vivo reference method and the (q)PCR molecular method. We collaborate with clinical laboratories and various universities.

The NRC also monitors human botulism.

In regard to animal health, we work mainly with the animal health agencies Arsia and DGZ, as well as with private veterinarians. We receive a variety of samples in relation to animal infections (organs removed from carcasses, serum, stools, animal foodstuffs). 


Sciensano also provides the epidemiological monitoring of diseases related to food consumption in Belgium and the regions. This epidemiological monitoring is based on, among other things, the data supplied systematically by the botulism NRC on the biological diagnosis of this disease in humans. This information enables us to monitor trends in the evolution of the disease in Belgium and the regions.

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