Within the scope of its official tasks, the Institute of Infectology (IMED) conducts research on infectious diseases of selected domestic animals. The focus of the institute’s research and development activities lies on the etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and control of infectious diseases of economically relevant aquatic animals (fish, molluscs, crustaceans), and bees. Furthermore, the institute investigates hematophagous arthropods as possible transmitters of animal and zoonotic pathogens. Research aims at gaining profound insights into the interactions between pathogen and host or vector, which will provide the basis for the development of immunoprophylactic measures, specific and sensitive animal diagnostics, as well as efficient control strategies. To this end, the institute uses virological, bacteriological, mycological, electron microscopical, molecular biological, immunological, and epidemiological methods.
The IMED houses the National Reference Laboratories (NRL) for notifiable
- fish diseases (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS), Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis (IHN), Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), Koi Herpesvirus infection of carp (KHV-I), Epizootic Hematopoietic Necrosis (EHN))
- mollusc diseases (infections with Bonamia excitosia, Bonamia ostreae, Marteilia refringens, Microcytos mackini, Perkinsus marinus)
- crustacean diseases (White Spot Disease, Taura Syndrome, Yellow Head Disease)
- bee diseases (American Foulbrood (AFB), Small Hive Beetle Infestation, Tropilaelaps infestation of honeybees).
Furthermore, the OIE reference laboratories for AFB, Small Hive Beetle Infestation and Varroosis of honeybees are based at the IMED.
The Laboratories for medical entomology as well as vector capacity deal with arthropods which may play a role in the epidemiology of animal diseases and zoonoses as transmitters of disease (vectors) and as pathogenic agents (ectoparasites). Current scientific projects deal with investigations on the vector competence of insects and ticks as well as vector-pathogen-interactions.
In association with the official tasks of the reference laboratories, scientists of the IMED provide advice to national and international authorities and associations with regard to the diagnosis and control of infectious diseases of fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and bees, and to the risk assessment of endemic or invasive arthropods occurring in Germany as potential vectors of animal diseases and zoonoses.