The centre is responsible for the early warning and risk assessment of the transmission of pathogenic microorganisms from animals, food and the environment to humans in the Netherlands.

We identify emerging zoonoses, also in our coordinating role in the national zoonoses early warming committee. We work with experts in human and veterinary health from various organisations in the Netherlands, such as the Animal Health Services, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Utrecht University), Central Veterinary Institute (Wageningen UR), the Netherlands Food and Consumer Products Safety Authority (NVWA) and RIVM.

Risk assessment involves making an estimate of the disease burden, and the relative importance of distribution routes and sources, and evaluating the effect of potential intervention options. The centre supports the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) and the Environment and Transport Inspectorate in their supervisory tasks with regard to food and water safety.

To complement systems elsewhere in the Netherlands, surveillance systems have been developed for non-human infection sources relevant to public health such as ticks, wildlife including rodents. In food safety, the centre hosts  several national reference laboratories, and a Europe-wide reference laboratory for Salmonella , and carries out legally required monitoring of shellfish production areas in the Netherlands. In addition, the centre is responsible for manning the response team for biological calamities as part of the Environmental Accidents Service coordinated by the Centre for Environmental Safety and Security.

The centre’s knowledge and information supports various Dutch Ministries (Health, Welfare and Sport, Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, and Infrastructure and Water Management), Community Health Services  and other partners in controlling infectious diseases in the Netherlands, as well as international public health organisations such as ECDC, EFSA and WHO, and the European Commission.

Head of centre: Arjen van de Giessen

Key expertise

  • Food-borne infections: quantitative risk assessment, reference tasks in detecting food pathogens, food microbiology
  • Environmental-borne infections, specifically water- and air-borne infectious diseases, and environmental microbiology
  • Laboratory preparedness for bio-terrorism, and highly pathogenic agents
  • Zoonoses: vector-borne infections such as mosquitoes and ticks, infections from wildlife, infections from livestock including livestock-associated  antimicrobial resistance
  • Microbiology