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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Maisons-Alfort Laboratory for Animal Health

Address : 14, rue Pierre et Marie Curie 94706 Maisons-Alfort Cedex

Phone : +33 (0) 1 49 77 13 00

Manager : Pascal Boireau

ANSES’s Animal Health Laboratory is located at Maisons-Alfort on the campus of the French National Veterinary School of Alfort (ENVA), which it is part of. Founded in 1901, this was the first laboratory created in the world to fight against infectious and contagious animal diseases. The laboratory is still today internationally recognised, and it carries out critical missions for France and Europe in the field of animal health and public health. It brings together over one hundred people grouped into four main units, covering all fields of infectious diseases in animal health. It is closely connected with the ENVA campus, with which it shares premises and staff. 

The laboratory performs considerable reference work (NRL, CRL, EURL, OIE, FAO, etc.) and a sustained level of research activity in partnership with other institutions (INRA, ENVA, universities). It has also been accredited by the French Ministry of Research (UMR, USC). The laboratory’s work focuses on the control of major animal disease epidemics (foot and mouth disease, bluetongue, etc.), and emerging multi-species infectious animal diseases (such as the new Schmallenberg virus that appeared recently in Germany, the Netherlands, and then in the UK and France, and later expanded to the east and north of Europe), including vector-borne diseases and opportunistic fungal infections. The laboratory was awarded many European contracts in 2011 and there was a qualitative and quantitative increase in the number of publications by its researchers.


In the context of its work, it provides a sustained level of scientific and technical support in two main areas:

  • Major reference and expert assessment activities,
  • High-quality research work conducted in partnership with other institutions and accredited by the French Ministry of Research (Joint research unit)


The laboratory’s work focuses on three main topics:


  • Controlling major animal disease epidemics (foot and mouth disease, bluetongue, etc.),
  • Bacterial, viral and parasitic zoonoses,
  • Emerging multi-species infectious animal diseases (vector-borne diseases and opportunistic fungal infections in particular).


The laboratory relies on its wide scope of expertise to provide decision support to the health authorities by:

  • developing tools for faster and more reliable detection and characterisation of pathogens in domestic and wild animals (diagnosis by quantitative PCR) as well as new typing methods: Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat (VNTR) and Multiple-Locus Analysis (MLVA).
  • analysing host-pathogen relationships in order to implement new strategies for animal disease prevention (vaccines).
  • monitoring the emergence of the epizootic diseases for which it is responsible, in order to prevent their dissemination and analyse their causes. In this way, the laboratory contributes to the assessment of their associated risks, and is responsible for issuing "foot and mouth disease and related vesicular disease" alerts.
  • As a reference laboratory for most multi-species zoonotic and epizootic animal diseases at the national, European and international level, it provides scientific and technical support for the health control of these diseases.