In Wusterhausen, a district veterinary clinic was established from 1960 to 1962. In the former GDR, such institutions were set up routinely in all districts; their main task was the medical treatment of breeding and farm animals of the agricultural cooperatives. In addition, they ensured the ambulatory and on-site care of small and pet animals.
The district veterinary clinic was transformed into a district institute for veterinary services (BIV) with a significantly extended task spectrum in 1971. In addition to the tasks of a clinic, several departments were responsible for diagnostics of certain diseases (e.g. leukosis, brucellosis, metabolic disorders). Furthermore, the institute was responsible for the investigation of animal feedstuff and for cattle herd management.
In 1975, the BIV Wusterhausen merged with the BIV Potsdam.
The foundation of an epidemiological institute in the GDR had already been pondered in 1978. On Sept. 9, 1982, the evaluation of an FMD outbreak in Northern Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania finally led to a ministerial decree imposing the foundation of the State Institute for Epizootiology and Animal Disease Control (SIFET) within the portfolio of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the GDR.
Between 1983 and 1985, preparations were made for the foundation of the SIFET – mainly the transfer of the existing tasks (veterinary clinic, diagnostics, animal health services, feedstuff investigation etc.).
On 1.1.1985, the SIFET resumed its work with a total of 79 employees, among them 12 scientists. At the time of incorporation of the institute into the BFAV, it had approx. 120 employees, among them 35 scientists.
Pursuant to the research development concept of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut closed its site in Wusterhausen, Brandenburg by the end of the year 2013. The Institute of Epidemiology will continue its work at the FLI headquarters on the island of Riems. Several national reference laboratories have been incorporated into other FLI institutes.
The National and OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies and the WHO Collaboration Centre for Rabies already moved to the island of Riems in mid-2012 and were incorporated into the Institute of Molecular Biology. The reference laboratories for verotoxin-producing E. coli, for Q fever, and for trichomoniasis of cattle were relocated to the FLI site in Jena at the end of September 2013.