Institute of Hygiene

Institute of Hygiene

The Institute of Hygiene, University Hospital Muenster, focuses on
preventive medicine including hospital- as well as environmental- and water hygiene. It is responsible for the infection control of the university hospital Muenster and performs teaching in infectious disease, infectious epidemiology, infection prevention, hospital- and environmental hygiene.
Its research focus lies in the following topics:

  1. Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) causing diarrhea and acute renal failure (hemolytic-uremic syndrome) with respect to their molecular epidemiology, evolution, pathogenicity and cell-cell interaction (Working group, (WG) Prof. Dr. Dr. Karch).
  2. The assessment of the genomic variability and phylogeny of bacterial pathogens. How do bacterial pathogens develop? How do they spread and what are the mechanisms involved in the development of infections? (WG PD Dr. Mellmann).
  3. Studies on proteinaceous infectious particles (prions) causing BSE (bovine spongiforme encephalopathy) and the new variant of the Creutzfeldt-Jacob-Disease in humans (WG PD Dr. Kuczius)
  4. Studies on carbohydrates involved in the initial host-pathogen interaction during the pathogenesis of infections (WG Prof. Dr. Müthing).
  5. Development of strategies for preventing water-borne infections (e.g. legionellosis) (WG Prof. Dr. Mathys).
  6. Molecular epidemiology and virulence analysis of microorganisms responsible for healthcareassociated infections, in particular infections by multi-resistant bacteria (e.g. MRSA). Herwithin the focus lies in the impact of zoonotic infections and healthcare-associated infections and the development of preventive strategies against them (WG PD Dr. Friedrich).

Many of the questions addressed by these working groups are linked to the problem of zoonotic diseases. Zoonoses are infections or pathogens transferable between animals and humans (e.g. EHEC, MRSA, prions). The Institute of Hygiene’s work on zoonotic diseases is currently funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the scientific interdisciplinary networks „Food-Borne Zoonotic Infections of Humans“ (FBI-Zoo) und „MedVet-Staph“. Moreover, the EU-funded INTERREG programs SafeGuard MRSA vet-net and EurSafety Healthnet partially deal with infections due to multiresistant microorganisms in the Dutch-German border region, where since many years there is a unique difference in the prevalence of infections due to MRSA. Epidemiology and preventive interventions can be studied within this eurrgional cross-border network (;


Robert-Koch-Str. 41
48149 Münster



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