Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana M. Aleandri

Regional Reference Center for Pathogenic Enterobacteria (CREP) and Regional Reference Laboratory for Foodborne Pathogens of Human Origin (LRPTAU)

Laboratory activities

The CREP and the LRPTAU belong to the Operational Directorate UOC “Food Microbiology” of the IZSLT. These laboratories perform serotyping tests using the rapid serum agglutination method of clinical and veterinary isolates (food, environmental and animal) of Salmonella, Yersinia enterocolitica, Shigella, L. monocytogenes and Vibrio cholerae. The “Biotechnology Applied to Food” laboratory also belongs to the same Operations Department, where tests are carried out for the molecular typing of Salmonella and for the characterization of E. coli pathogenicity genes, including shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (VTEC ) or carriers of other pathogenicity factors such as ETEC, EPEC, DAEC, EIEC and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), pathogenic Y. enterocolitica and Vibrio as well as the search for genes coding for staphylococcal and botulinum toxins and l ‘identification of bacterial species with methods in PCR and direct sequencing (Sanger). Starting from 2019, the sequencing activity in NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) of the genomes of the bacterial isolates received by CREP was also started (in particular of L. monocytogenes, Salmonella spp and E. coli STEC) and the bioinformatics analysis of results obtained for:

-confirm or deepen the results of the typing tests (e.g. in silico determination of the serogroups and serotypes to which they belong)

-conduct analyzes for epidemiological purposes (eg: research of epidemic clusters, construction of phylogenetic trees).


Surveillance activity

CREP and LRPTAU participate in the activities of the Enter-Net Italia and Enter-Vet laboratory surveillance networks.

The Enter-Net network (Enteric Pathogen Network) Italy is coordinated by the Department of Infectious Diseases of the Istituto Superiore di SanitĂ , and collects strains and epidemiological and microbiological information relating to the isolations of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, Yersinia, Vibrio and other enteric pathogens of human origin.

The Enter-Vet surveillance network is coordinated by the National Reference Center for Salmonellosis of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie and has the objective of collecting isolates and data at national level relating to Salmonella spp. from samples of veterinary origin (food, animals, environment and water).

Strains of human origin identified as belonging to the genera Salmonella spp., Yersinia enterocolitica, Shigella spp., and Campylobacter spp. are transferred to the National Reference Laboratory (NRL-AR) and to the National Reference Center for Antibiotic Resistance (CRN-AR) identified at the IZSLT, for the determination of antimicrobial sensitivity. Antibiogram results are returned to the Enter-Net surveillance system.

As regards Listeria monocytogenes, the CREP and the LRPTAU represent the point of contact for the IZSLT with:

the National Reference Laboratory for Listeria of Teramo (IZSAM), to which all isolates of food origin and the related sequence data are sent, after carrying out the envisaged characterization activities and feeding the SEAP information system (Epidemiological Surveillance Agents foodborne pathogens);
the ECDC Operational Contact Point for listeriosis at the Istituto Superiore di SanitĂ , for the characterization and dispatch of human isolates received from public and private hospitals and laboratories in the Lazio Region;
the SERESMI (Regional Service for the Epidemiology, Surveillance and Control of Infectious Diseases) for the rapid exchange of information concerning the new cases of listeriosis notified by the hospitals of the Lazio Region.

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