External Quality Assurance System (EQAS) of the WHO Global Salmonella Surveillance and Laboratory Support Project (Global Salm-Surv) Results from 2006
Hendriksen R, Seyfarth AM, Karlsmose S and Aarestrup F
In January 2000, WHO launched an international Salmonella surveillance and laboratory support project, the "WHO Global Salm-Surv" (WHO GSS) in order to enhance the member countries’ capacity to detect and respond to Salmonella problems, as well as to improve global surveillance of Salmonella. Today the WHO GSS embraces other important foodborne pathogens than Salmonella, especially Campylobacter, which also has become a problem of great concern in different parts of the world.
Salmonella and Campylobacter are among the most important foodborne pathogens worldwide, leading to millions of cases of diarrhoeal illness each year in developing as well as industrialized countries. Furthermore, there is a growing concern for the increasing resistance to antimicrobial therapies in Salmonella. Infections with resistant Salmonella and Campylobacter are associated with increased morbidity and mortality.
To support laboratories participating in WHO GSS an External Quality Assurance System (EQAS) was established in 2000. The EQAS supports the assessment of the quality of serotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Salmonella in participating laboratories. In 2003, the program was extended to include other foodborne pathogens as well, and the number of participants has increased from 44 laboratories in 2000, to 153 laboratories in 2006.
The EQAS is organized yearly by the National Food Institute (FOOD-DTU) in collaboration with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA; World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland; and with Institute Pasteur (IP) in Paris, France.
The objective is to monitor the quality of the Salmonella serotyping and the antimicrobial susceptibility data produced and pin point areas which need attention in order to produce reliable data. The goal is having all laboratories perform Salmonella serotyping with a maximum of three errors (38 %) and susceptibility testing within the range of either of the following: a maximum of 5 % very major / major and 5 % minor errors, or a maximum of 10 % minor errors.