Skip to main content

National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa

Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa

Fellowship Site Directors: Anne von Gottberg & Sibongile Walaza

Site Contacts: Anne von Gottberg ( & Sibongile Walaza (


Site Specialties:

  • Epidemiology, public health research, and population level intervention research
  • Microbiology and virology
  • Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases
  • HIV, TB, and related diseases

 Site Description:

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) a Division of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), situated in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a national public health institution focusing on surveillance, laboratory diagnostics, training and research. It serves South Africa, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region and the African continent as the organ for gathering intelligence on communicable diseases of relevance to the country, to the region and to the continent. It is, to a large extent, modelled after the CDC in the USA. CRDM (Centre for Respiratory Diseases and Meningitis) is located on the main NICD campus in Johannesburg. The diverse expertise that CRDM encompasses situates it well to implement multidisciplinary research work that requires epidemiological and varied diagnostic and bioinformatics capabilities in the field of communicable respiratory diseases and meningitis for South Africa and the African continent. The Centre generates data and provides expertise related to respiratory diseases and meningitis of public health importance, has published extensively in this field, and trains PhD and MSc students, both in laboratory sciences and infectious disease epidemiology. CRDM houses the regional reference laboratory for the World Health Organization (WHO) Vaccine-preventable Invasive Bacterial Diseases (VP-IBD) Coordinated Global Surveillance Network for the southern African region; a National Influenza Centre (NIC); and a global WHO RSV and regional SARS-CoV-2 reference laboratory.

Research Facilities:

The CRDM team, together with collaborators, successfully implemented large-scale syndromic and pathogen-specific surveillance and research projects as well as set up and manage large databases. These include experience with nationwide surveillance programmes for influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), SARS-CoV-2, pertussis, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Neisseria meningitidis, group A and B streptococcus. We have worked on a nationwide case-control study related to Streptococcus pneumoniae vaccine effectiveness, studies of household influenza transmission and shedding, and several healthcare utilisation surveys. The team at CRDM has taken a leading role in providing data for the national COVID-19 response and was responsible for diagnosing the first case in South Africa. CRDM is responsible for ongoing national COVID-19 surveillance and reporting, SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance studies and contributing to ongoing SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance.

Logo for National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa



Newsletter Sign-Up