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National Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria

On behalf of the Public Health Agency of Sweden, our department has the honour to act as the National Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria (Neisseria meningitidis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae).

Neisseria meningitidis (meningococci = MC)

The reference function includes, among other things, to receive bacterial isolates for species diagnosis, determination of serogroup, genogroup, antibiogram, genosubtype and further characterization to for example fulfill the ECDC requirements. Further characterizations are done upon request and/or when necessary.

Every isolate of MC, or a suspected MC, from a normal sterile site, should be sent to the reference laboratory for characterisation. The Public Health Agency of Sweden covers partly the costs.

Body fluids that are normally sterile, like for an example cerebrospinal fluid, can be examined with PCR technique for identification of species, group, geno-subtype and sensitivity for penicillin upon request from clinicians/microbiological laboratories. If DNA preparations are at hand, they could be used but the original sample should also be included.

Routines for reporting results

First report with serogroup and antibiogram is often distributed within two working days. The additional characteristics are normally ready within 1-3 months. This can of course be done faster when required.
Report of PCR results concerning species are normally ready within two working days.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococci = GC)

The reference laboratory receives isolates for confirming of species, antibiogram, serogroup designation and serovar designation. Further characterisation can be done upon request and/or when necessary.

The reference laboratory can also confirm specimens positive in nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) at other laboratories. Several gonococcal NAATs have a suboptimal specificity and require confirmation by a NAAT detecting another target sequence.

Routines for reporting results

The antibiogram, serogroup and serovar are normally ready within two working days after receiving an isolate. Please note on the referral if you want reply over the telephone, or in any other way. Please note number and name of receiver.

Additional general information concerning the reference laboratory

All received isolates are kept at the laboratory (frozen -70°C).

Our reference laboratory welcomes all types of discussions and collaborations concerning microbiological and epidemiological facets of pathogenic Neisseria, meningococcal disease and gonorrhoea. We are also happy to participate in research and development project as well as quality assurance systems within the field of pathogenic Neisseria and can provide reference strains for these purposes.

Annual laboratory reports for both N. meningitidis and N. gonorrhoeae are produced and distributed.

Page-functions and -information

Page revised Thursday, April 7, 2016

Content Manager: Hans Fredlund

Simple address:


Assoc. Professor Hans Fredlund

Assoc. Professor Magnus Unemo

Phone: 019-602 10 00

Contact via e-mail