Welcome to the official website of the European Union Reference Laboratory (EU-RL) for Escherichia coli, including Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC), hosted by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità.
The EU-RL-VTEC website is primarily meant to inform the participating National Reference Laboratories (NRLs), but is also of interest to the laboratories dealing with pathogenic E. coli detection and control.
The Istituto Superiore di Sanità was designated as Reference Laboratory for VTEC by the European Commission starting from the 1st July 2006.
The EU-RL-VTEC will mainly focus its activity on VTEC. However, EU-RL-VTEC will deal with any pathogenic E. coli infection that will have either a foodborne or a zoonotic origin.
The Unit of Foodborne Zoonoses has been accredited as...
The CRL-VTEC was established in accordance with the following EU legislation:
- Directive 2003/99/EC of 17 November 2003 on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, amending Council Decision 90/424/EEC and repealing Council Directive 92/117/EEC
- Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 of 29 April 2004 on official controls performed to ensure the verification of compliance with feed and food law, animal health and welfare rules
- Regulation (EC) No 776/2006 of 23 May 2006 amending Annex VII to Regulation (EC) No 882/2004 as regards a list of Community Reference Laboratories
The general functions and duties of the Community Reference Laboratory for feed and food are described in Article 32 (1) of Regulation (EC) No. 882/2004.
They shall be responsible for the following main activities:
- Co-operation with international organisations and NRLs
The CRL-VTEC will cooperate with EC, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), World Health Organisation (WHO), and agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control working in the field of human and animal health. In particular, the CRL-VTEC will cooperate with Enter-net, the Community network for epidemiological surveillance and control of salmonella and VTEC infections, in defining common database for food isolates and joint...
VTEC infections constitute a major public health concern, because of the severe illnesses that they can cause, such as haemorrhagic colitis and haemolytic uraemic syndrome, especially among children and the elderly. VTEC are zoonotic pathogens, ruminats being recognized as the major reservoir for human infections. The large number of outbreaks occurred all over the world underlines the importance of these pathogens and highlights the need for both mandatory disease notification and cooperation between laboratories within and beyond state boundaries. The majority of the cases worldwide are caused by strains of serogroup O157, but infections sustained by VTEC strains belonging to serogroups other than O157, like O26, O111, O103 and O145, have been increasingly reported. Recent findings on...
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