European Network of Laboratories

11.10.2005 - (idw) Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

November 2004, 28 laboratories from 20 countries founded the European network of laboratories for sequence based typing of MRSA pathogens ( Its main goals are the typing and the fight against of the MRSA bacteria. One year later, 30 experts from 21 countries meet again from October 12th to 14th at the Institute of Hygiene of the University Hospital Münster (Germany) for a joint workshop with the "European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network" (EARSS) in order to discuss future directives in typing and control of MRSA on a local and international level. is co-ordinated by the University Hospital Münster and the Robert Koch Institute (Germany). The network is the basis for a common laboratory language for the early detection of outbreaks with multiresistant bacteria, such as MRSA (methicilline resistant Staphylococcus aureus). Using a special bioinformatics tool developed in co-operation with the department of Periodontology (Prof. Dag Harmsen) the laboratory typing data is synchronized via the Internet, thereby ensuring a universal nomenclature. This technology makes possible for the first time a European-wide molecular surveillance of MRSA, so the co-ordinators of the project Prof. Wolfgang Witte (RKI) und Dr. Alexander Friedrich (University Hospital Münster). The project leader of EARSS Prof. Hajo Grundmann (Bilthoven, The Netherlands) underlines the immense potential of typing networks for the understanding of the MRSA epidemiology. In the last 12 months, nearly 10.000 MRSAs were analysed and shared by the laboratories.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the cause of the most hospital-acquired infections worldwide. In particular, infections caused by MRSA are endangering patient's safety in hospitals. It has been shown that infections due to MRSA are associated with increased mortality and morbidity. In the last 10 years an increase in the MRSA rate from 2% to approx. 25% was observed in Germany. In the United Kingdom and the United States the rates exceed 40%. In The Netherlands and Scandinavia a stable rate under 3% has been achieved due to restrictive surveillance and infection control measures. Recently, "community-acquired" CA-MRSA got a lot of attention in several countries. These MRSA are a possible danger to healthy persons without any previous contact to hospitals.

The laboratory network delivers the tools to detect the crossborder spreading of MRSA and enables participating countries to establish local, national and international early warning systems, in order to control MRSA spreading and to avoid further infections in humans and animals.

For further information, please contact:
Dr. med. A.W. Friedrich,
Institute of Hygiene, Münster
University Hospital Münster
Tel. : +49-251-83-52317
Fax :+49-251-83-52317
Homepage :
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