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National Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter

The reservoir for Campylobacter bacteria are warm-blooded wild, farm and domestic animals (birds and mammals), which usually do not show any clinical symptoms of disease. In humans, infectious diseases caused by Campylobacter are mainly associated with diarrhoea. In Germany, as in other European countries, Campylobacter is the most common pathogen of bacterial intestinal infections (enteritis). In Germany, about 70,000 cases of Campylobacter infections are reported to the RKI every year.

Campylobacter infections in humans are mostly food-associated. One of the main sources of infection is insufficiently heated or contaminated poultry meat and the preparation of raw chicken meat with cross-contamination of the bacteria to ready-to-eat food, such as lettuce (see video [in German “Dem Keim auf der Spur”] "Tracing the germ" at the side of this homepage). Other sources of infection can be unpasteurised milk, raw minced meat, untreated drinking water, ingestion of surface water and direct contact to pets.

The National Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter is located at the BfR. The work focuses on routine and research work on the characterisation and differentiation of Campylobacter isolates originating from animals, food and environmental samples. Various molecular biological methods, including whole genome sequencing, are available for epidemiological investigations.

Main activities of the NRL for Campylobacter

The National Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter at BfR has the following main areas of work:

  • Performing tasks within the framework of the Zoonoses Monitoring Directive 2003/99/EC.
  • Microbiological and molecular diagnostics of Campylobacter spp. and Arcobacter spp.
  • Organisation of interlaboratory proficiency tests for qualitative and quantitative detection of Campylobacter in relevant matrices, e.g. chicken meat/skin, raw milk and chicken caecal content
  • Production of quantitative reference standards (see our published protocol below)
  • Antibiotic resistance testing of Campylobacter spp.
  • Support in the elucidation of infection chains
  • Molecular fine typing (using MLST, flaA/porA sequencing, cpn60, cgMLST and SNP analysis)
  • Molecular analysis of Campylobacter spp. resistance
  • Rapid detection by PCR and real-time PCR
  • Strain collection
  • Consulting

Team / Tasks phone E-Mail

Dr. Kerstin Stingl

Microbiologist (Head of)


Dr. Janine Heise

Micro- and Molecularbiology (Deputy Head of)


Dr. Sarah Brüggemann-Schwarze

Microbiologist (Scientific Associate)



Christiane Buhler

Species differentiation, microbiology, enzyme tests (MTA)


Marie-Theres Knüver

Species differentiation, next generation sequencing, horizontal gene transfer (Dipl.-Biol.)


Maja Thieck

Species differentiation, antibiotic resistance (BTA)


Sandra Preuß

Species differentiation, next generation sequencing, horizontal gene transfer (Biotechnologist, B. SC.)


Julia Golz

Micro- and Molecularbiology (Postdoc)


Imke Wulsten

Micro- and molecular analysis in EsRAM project (PhD student, M. Sc. Biology)


Juan Cruz Goenaga

Species differentiation, micro- and molecular biology, antibiotic resistance (Food technologist)


Michael Zarske

Micro- and molecular analysis in CHANCE project (PhD student, M. Sc. Food Technology)




Date Title Size
BfR Opinion No 011/2018
Hygiene for chicken eggs – protection from Campylobacter 37.5 KB
BfR Opinion No 008/2016
Raw milk: boiling protects against infection with Campylobacter 40.4 KB



Date Title Size
Communication No 012/2021 from the BfR
Project PAC-CAMPY: Strategies to combat Campylobacter in a practical test setting 171.5 KB


External Links

European Union Reference Laboratory for Campylobacter
Workshop Campylobacter, Arcobacter & Related Organisms (CARO 2017)




nach oben

Dem Keim auf der Spur

Küchenhygiene kann Kreuzkontaminationen mit krankmachenden Keimen wie Campylobacter verhindern.


Contact person
Dr. Kerstin Stingl (Head of)



Dr. Janine Heise (Deputy Head of)




Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
FGr 42 - NRL for Campylobacter
Diedersdorfer Weg 1
12277 Berlin



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