National WHO Reference laboratory for Morbilli- and Rubellavirus

The National WHO Reference Laboratory for Morbilli and Rubella, Statens Serum Institut, is appointed by the National Board of Health. 


WHO has set the goal to diminish the circulation of morbilli and congenital rubella in the European Region. The laboratory is representing Denmark in the European WHO laboratory network contributing to the surveillance of morbilli and rubella. These infections are still common in many parts of the world, but since vaccination became available they have become rare diseases in Denmark. Molecular characterisation including sequencing of viruses is an important instrument supplementing the classical epidemiological surveillance. The molecular epidemiology can identify the geographical origin of the virus and can be used for tracing sources and routes of infections.


Morbilli and rubella during pregnancy and congenital rubella are individually notifiable diseases in Denmark. The National WHO reference laboratory for morbilli and rubella at the Virology Surveillance and Research Unit, and the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Statens Serum Institut, are responsible for the national surveillance of morbilli and rubella.


Positive cases of measles and rubella are reported to national and international authorities. The number of tests performed, and the results hereof, every month for rubella and morbilli diagnostics are reported to WHO. 


The laboratory is member of the European Measles and Rubella Laboratory Network (LabNet) under WHO/Europe, which consists of 73 laboratories from 50 member states.

Quality control

The laboratory is accredited by WHO on the basis of annual participation in a international quality assurance program for the detection of morbilli and rubella IgM antibodies in combination with annual reporting of the laboratory resources, staff, other types of quality assurance practices and the number of testes performed.