Health for humans, animals & plants

National Reference Center for Cholera

The AGES Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Vienna took over the tasks of a National Reference Center for cholera in 2002 and is located in the Public Health Business Unit.

Cholera is caused by toxin-producing Vibrio (V.) cholerae strains and manifests itself as watery diarrhea. Transmission of V. cholerae is mainly oral, through ingestion of drinking water contaminated with feces or vomit, or through food. The pathogen is widespread worldwide, but illnesses in Austria occur very rarely. In recent years, toxin-producing V. cholerae O1 strains have repeatedly been imported after stays in endemic areas; the last infection acquired in Austria was a laboratory infection. In recent years, no cholera toxin-forming vibrios could be identified in the national reference laboratory for cholera.

However, non-toxin-producing V. cholerae are repeatedly detected in Austrian waters and identified as causative agents of wound infections, gastrointestinal infections and, in rare cases, severe systemic infections.

Our services

  • Differential diagnosis of Vibrio species and related genera by biochemical methods;
  • Serological differential diagnosis of V. cholerae O1 and O139 and non-agglutinating Vibriones;
  • Detection of toxigenic V. cholerae strains by molecular biological methods;
  • Maintaining a strain collection of epidemiologically important human and environmental isolates;
  • Participation in research projects on diversity and pathogenicity of cholera vibrios in domestic waters;
  • Consultation on questions of diagnostics, epidemiology, therapy, measures and prevention;
  • Reporting;

Isolate submission

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 examination material are best suited for shipping the strains.


Dr. Sonja Pleininger, MSc

Last updated: 25.04.2022

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