National Reference Center Diphtheria Laboratory

The AGES Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Vienna has taken over the tasks of a National Reference Center for Diphtheria Laboratory 2010.

Diphtheria is a disease that has become rare in our latitudes and is caused by toxin-producing corynebacteria(C. diphtheriae, C. ulcerans, C. pseudotuberculosis). In addition to identification, the distinction between toxin-producing and non-toxin-producing strains is crucial in diagnosis. There are two forms of manifestation, cutaneous diphtheria and pharyngeal diphtheria, whereby pharyngeal diphtheria is often characterized by severe courses of disease that can be lethal without adequate therapy. In 2014, skin diphtheria was diagnosed in Austria for the first time in 20 years.

Our services

  • Culture and identification of Corynebacterium diphtheriae and related genera by biochemical methods;
  • Differential diagnosis of toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae and non-toxigenic strains by Elek tests;
  • Detection of toxigenic Corynebacterium diphtheriae strains by molecular biological methods;
  • Participation in European ring trials;
  • Maintenance of a reference strain collection;
  • Consultation on diagnostics, epidemiology, therapy, measures and prevention;
  • Reporting

Special Notes: Submissions should always include information on the origin of the isolates as well as the necessary patient data, clinical and epidemiological data. Please use the appropriate submission form. Fresh cultures in transport medium with appropriate reference to medical diagnostic material are best suited for shipment of strains.


Dr. Sonja Pleininger, MSc

Last updated: 14.11.2022

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