The Bacteriology Branch is specialised in detecting bacterial warfare agents belonging to risk group 3. Although the natural occurrence of these diseases is very rare in the highly developed European countries a deliberate release cannot be excluded. The anthrax letters which were circulated in the United States in fall 2001 have attracted the public perception. Rapid and accurate detection is essential for dealing with such events.

For evaluating the analytical quality the branch participates regularly in international inter-laboratory tests. The procedures are proven and are successively accredited. Participation in the European network QUANDHIP (Quality Assurance Exercises and Networking on the Detection of Highly Infectious Pathogens) provides an ideal platform for scientific exchange of expertise in the diagnostics field for highly pathogenic bacteria.

Spiez Laboratory is member of the Swiss regional laboratory network. It comprises six laboratories that are equipped to make primary diagnoses of risk group 3 agents which could be used by terrorists. The Bacteriology Branch analyses samples for the regional laboratory centre-west (Cantonal Laboratory of Bern). Since January 2014, the tasks of the National Reference Centre for Anthrax (NANT) are also managed by Spiez Laboratory.

Applied research projects are performed in collaboration with (academic) institutes and universities from all over the world. Its responsibilities also include microbiological monitoring of drinking water of the Swiss Armed Forces and the education of apprentices.




Sandra Paniga
Susanne Thomann
Dr. Matthias Wittwer
Fritz Wüthrich

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