Sciensano & Clostridia

Last updated on 22-2-2023 by Charlien Hupko

Sciensano is the National Reference Center (NRC) for C. botulinum and C. perfringens. We are also recognized as the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for tetanus. 

The laboratory is responsible for analyses linked to 3 species of the Clostridium genus: Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium tetani and Clostridium perfringens in 3 different fields (human, animal and food microbiology). The laboratory is thus responsible for the diagnosis of human and animal botulism, the diagnosis of human and animal tetanus, for checking anti-tetanus immunity and for the diagnosis of C. perfringens infections (human and animals).

National Reference Center (CNR) for C. botulinum and C. perfringens

The NRC for C. botulinum and C. perfringens carries out its analyses on 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. For C. perfringens infections, qPCR is used, in parallel with traditional microbiology, as the method for detection and typing. Our partners are the clinical laboratories (hospitals) and the universities. The NRC performs the monitoring of human botulism and C. perfringens infections.

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).

National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for tetanus

The tetanus NRL performs the biological diagnosis of human tetanus (NB: clinical diagnosis takes precedence over laboratory diagnosis) and of animal tetanus using the in vivo method. The laboratory also measures the level of anti-tetanus antibodies to determine the vaccination status of individuals/patients.

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