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New OIE Reference Laboratories for Bee Diseases at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut

Press Releases

Insel Riems, 7 June 2017. In the future, the National Reference Laboratory for Bee Diseases at the FLI will also be active on the international level as OIE Reference Laboratory for American Foulbrood, Varroa Mite Infestation, and Small Hive Beetle Infestation. This resolution taken at the last Annual Meeting of the General Assembly of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has been in force since June 1st, 2017.

Since 2011, the FLI houses the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) for the notifiable bee diseases American Foulbrood, Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida) Infestation and Tropilaelaps Infestation. It is one of over 75 NRLs for notifiable and reportable animal diseases at the FLI. The reference laboratories clarify suspected cases, provide advice to the veterinary authorities and conduct ring trials or other measures for quality assurance of animal disease diagnostics in Germany. In the frame of this activity the FLI also publishes a collection of official procedures for sampling and testing of notifiable animal diseases.

Furthermore, the FLI houses the OIE "Collaborating Centre for Zoonoses in Europe" as well as OIE Reference Laboratories for Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease, Bovine Herpesvirus 1 Infection, Brucellosis, Chlamydiosis, Glanders, Rabies, and now also for American Foulbrood, Varoosis and Small Hive Beetle Infestation. All member states are obliged to report certain animal diseases to the OIE so that protective measures can be taken on the international level. These include all important diseases of horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, of poultry, fish, bees, crustaceans and molluscs. The list encompasses both, diseases that exclusively affect animals and infections which can be transmitted to humans (zoonoses). OIE Reference Laboratories use, support and disseminate diagnostic methods validated according to OIE standards. The OIE guidelines and recommendations are considered as international reference in the field of animal disease and zoonoses control.

The Reference Laboratory for Bee Diseases is the direct contact for federal and state authorities for the diagnosis of bee diseases. It cooperates closely with the regional research institutions of the federal states and is responsible on the national level for coordination of the regional laboratories with respect to diagnostic standards, procedures and methods for notifiable bee diseases based on the German Regulation for Bee Diseases. Furthermore, the Reference Laboratory develops test methods for detection of notifiable bee diseases and carries out national interlaboratory tests. The laboratory has extensive experience in the diagnosis of bee diseases according to OIE standards, is accredited for all important diseases of honeybees, and covers a broad spectrum of diagnostic methods.

Dr. Marc Oliver Schäfer is a biologist who worked at the former OIE Reference Laboratory at the Chemical and Veterinary Diagnostic Agency (CVUA) Freiburg under the direction of the OIE expert for bee diseases Dr. Wolfgang Ritter for three years. For about two years he was employed in Switzerland at the Centre for Bee Research of the Research Institute Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux (ALP) in Bern. Dr. Schäfer is in close contact with the Sophia Antipolis Laboratory of ANSES, the European Reference Laboratory for Honeybee Health (EURL) based in France. He is an extraordinary member of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Institute für Bienenforschung e.V. (Working group of bee research institutes), member of the EURL "EpiTeam" and official expert of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and of the European Commission for Honeybee Health. 


Head of laboratory Dr. Marc O. Schäfer
Tel.: +49 38351 7-1246

Bild: OIE Reference Laboratories for American foulbrood of honey bees (infection of honey bees with Paenibacillus larvae), Small hive beetle infestation (Aethina tumida), and Varroosis of honey bees (infestation of honey bees with Varroa spp.)