Network of sentinel laboratories - EPILABO

Last updated on 17-4-2024 by Amber Van Laer

EPILABO | A sentinel network of laboratories for the epidemiological surveillance of infectious diseases

Since 1983, Sciensano has coordinated a network of microbiological laboratories, known as sentinel laboratories or ‘Epilabo’. This surveillance network is based on the laboratories’ voluntary cooperation in sending diagnostic data for different pathogens (around 40) to Sciensano once a week.

It contributes to improving public health by:

  • detecting changes in infectious disease epidemiology and alerting when calculated threshold values are exceeded
  • estimating the impact of infectious diseases through monitoring of epidemiological trends, describing the groups most affected and the geographical distribution of the selected infectious diseases
  • monitoring the impact of  prevention programmes
  • making predictions concerning the spread and epidemiology of infectious diseases
  • collecting data for communication to international health authorities (ECDC, WHO, etc.) in order to comply with international obligations.

How can I transfer the data?

Currently, you can transfer data via 2 ways

  1. Electronic data transfer from LIMS extraction. Data from LIMS can be extracted and sent as an Excel file by e-mail to
  2. Upon registration, data can be transferred via a secured website (only accessible by the participating sentinel labs)

Can I participate in the network of sentinel laboratories? 

Yes of course! Please contact the coordinator of the network:

Problems during registration?

Should you experience problems with the online registration of your data, or if you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact the coordinator of the network via

Future data collection system

The sentinel surveillance network will make use of the Be-HERA architecture, which is designed in response to the need for one central data retrieval for exchanging personal data concerning public health. In accordance with the Be-HERA objectives, EPILABO will receive and use only a limited set of pseudonymised data to ameliorate the state of preparedness and monitoring the epidemiological trends for infectious diseases. 

We are currently working on this new data collection system. An authorization from the Information security Committee was obtained on December 6, 2022 (available in Dutch and French). The implementation will be rolled-out in 2023 in collaboration with This overview document describes for participating laboratories how the new data collection will be organized, with the objectives, a description of the variables to be collected and technical information on how the data can be transmitted via the HD4DP2.0 application.

Do you have further questions? 

Would you like to receive more information about the sentinel surveillance network? Please contact us via

Would you like to find out more about the activities and organisation of Sciensano’s service Epidemiology of infectious diseases? Please visit our service page

Would you like to know more about the dynamic interactive dashboard of infectious diseases? Please visit Epistat

Financial sources / funding institutions 

These projects are funded by the Flemish region (Agentschap Zorg en Gezondheid), the Walloon region (l’Agence pour une Vie de QualitéAViQ), the german speaking region (Ostbelgien), the Brussels-Capital region (the Common Community Commission), the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (INAMI-RIZIV), the Federal Public Service Health and the EU.


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