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 eliminate 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. Measles was declared eliminated in Denmark in 2017, but in order to maintain this status detection and containment of imported cases by an effective surveillance is very important.
Positive cases of measles and rubella are reported to national and international authorities. The number of tests performed for rubella and morbilli diagnostics, and the results hereof, are reported to WHO monthly.
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.
The laboratory is accredited by WHO based on an annual review that assesses the performance of the laboratory. This assessment is based on workload, timeliness and completeness of reporting laboratory data, including genotyping, an external quality assurance programme (antibodies and antigen, including sequencing), implementation of internal quality control procedures and the score from an on-site review, conducted periodically by the Regional Laboratory Coordinator or delegate.