Core Partner, BSL4, Non EU


The National health laboratory services, National Institute for communicable diseases ( NICD NHLS) is a resource of knowledge and expertise in regionally relevant communicable diseases to the South African Government, to SADC countries and the African continent, in order to assist in the planning of policies and programmes and to support appropriate responses to communicable disease problems and issues. The NICD has been established to function as a public health oriented, laboratory-based, national facility distinct from and independent of the existing microbiology/virology laboratories attached to academic centres throughout the country. The direction which the NICD will take will be that of a public health oriented, rather than a patient oriented clinical diagnostic entity and this would be reflected in the service commitments, research directions and teaching carried out by the Institute. It would, to a large extent, be modelled on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention of the USA.


  • To be the national organ for South Africa for public health surveillance of communicable diseases.
  • To collect, analyse and interpret communicable diseases data on an ongoing and systematic basis.
  • To continuously and systematically monitor for the emergence of new infectious diseases and for the re-emergence or re-appearance of previously controlled infectious diseases or the importation of exotic infectious diseases.
  • To detect outbreaks or epidemics at an early stage in order to be able to timeously and effectively respond to them, or to anticipate imminent outbreaks or epidemics by investigation, research and analysis of data.
  • To engage in directed and relevant research to answer questions related to regional public health communicable diseases problems and their surveillance and management.
  • To establish formal structures for the rapid and continuous dissemination of data and information generated from NICD to all who need to know.
  • To build capacity in communicable diseases nationally and regionally.
  • To provide a reference function to communicable diseases laboratories in the public and private sectors nationally and regionally.