In November 2006, the AGES Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene in Graz was entrusted with the tasks of a National Reference Laboratory for Escherichia coli including verotoxin-forming E. coli in food and feed. The scope of the institute’s responsibilities was subsequently enlarged to include the veterinary field. In addition, the institute began performing the tasks of an equivalent National Reference Centre for human samples on 1 January 2010.
Our tasks include:
- Detection of EIEC, EPEC, ETEC and VTEC in human stool samples
- Isolation and cultural detection of VTEC from human stool samples, food, and samples from the environment by means of selective culture media, immunomagnetic separation, colony immunoblot, plate agglutination and PCR
- Confirmation and typing of submitted isolates with biochemical and biomolecular methods
- Fine typing of VTEC: typing of Shiga toxin genes (PCR, microarray), typing of further virulence genes (PCR, microarray), Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE), Variable Number of Tandem Repeats Analysis for E. coli O157 (VNTR), Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) (being set up)
- Detection of specific antibodies in human serum in cases of HUS
- Maintaining a strain collection of all human, veterinary, feed, and food isolates
- Investigation of sources and routes of infection as part of efforts to determine the causes of outbreaks
- Providing advice on diagnostics, mandatory reporting, epidemiology, food safety, prevention and / or preventive measures.