National Reference Centre for tick-transmitted diseases (NRZK)

About the Reference Centre

Within the context of monitoring relevant diseases, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) operates a national reference centre for tick transmitted diseases (NRZK). It is charged with providing a confirmation or referral diagnostics for detecting tick transmitted pathogens in human samples.

The reference centre is constituted by three contractual partners:

Tasks and objectives

Tick transmitted diseases pose an important health problem in Switzerland. Its inhabitants are increasingly affected by Lyme boreliosis or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). An estimated 6,000 to 12,000 boreliosis cases arise every year and about 100 to 250 persons become ill.

The NRZK helps the FOPH in monitoring tick transmitted diseases (in particular Lyme boreliosis, TBE and Q fever). It also brings together specialists from various fields in order to develop measures to prevent these diseases.

The FOPH and the NRZK pursue the following public health goals:

  • Reference diagnostics for Lyme boreliosis and TBE, confirmation diagnostics for Q fever
  • Reference source
  • Quality assurance and research relating to test development
  • Scientific consultation, international networking and doctrine
  • Monitoring, early warning and assistance in implementing measures

Organisation

The NRZK completes tasks for the FOPH concerning diagnostics, research and advanced training with regard to the three most important tick-transmitted diseases. While the SPIEZ LABORATORY attends to administrative work, the diagnosis of the various pathogens is in the hands of three contractual partners. A scientific advisory group assesses the activities of the NRZK and provides recommendations for their activities.

The NRZK is linked to its respective reference centres in France and Germany.

Wire chart of NRZK
Organisation of NRZK

The NRZK is available for enquiries concerning its specific mission as national reference centre for tick-transmitted diseases. This applies to questions relating to current diagnosis procedures, new tests as well as the biology of the various pathogens.

Should you have questions concerning medical treatment or have a complaint about medical malpractice, please refer to your family doctor, a medical specialist or the agency for patient safety.

The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office is relevant if domestic or farm animals have been bitten by ticks or have been affected by tick-associated diseases. Please contact the relevant cantonal office for questions relating to the biology, the spreading of, or infection of ticks.

For questions concerning the epidemiology of tick-borne human diseases please contact the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/das-bag/kontakt-standort.html.


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