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Presentation and missions of the Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife

Laboratory Director: Elodie Monchatre-Leroy

Deputy Director: Franck Boué

Address: Bâtiment H - Technopôle Agricole et Vétérinaire – Domaine de Pixérécourt - CS 40009 - 54220 MALZEVILLE, France

Team: 40 people, spread out across two units and an experimental station

The laboratory's missions

The Nancy Laboratory for Rabies and Wildlife studies pathogens circulating in wildlife, in particular zoonotic ones (able to be transmitted from animals to humans), with an approach that focuses on selected pathogens or animal species. This vast topic is studied according to three strands: surveillance, study of eco-epidemiology, and prevention and control. These strands feed into each other, and some projects may be at the intersection of several strands. 

A significant part of the laboratory's work focuses on animal rabies. At the national level, the objective is to maintain France's rabies-free status for non-flying mammals (such as dogs and foxes) and to monitor bats for lyssaviruses, a group of viruses that includes rabies. At the international level, the laboratory provides its expertise and takes part in rabies elimination programmes around the world.

It also specialises in the study of other zoonotic agents circulating in wildlife, at the interface with humans, and domestic and farm animals. In particular, it works on parasites of the genus Echinococcus sp. responsible for cystic echinococcosis or hydatid disease; on the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis responsible for bovine tuberculosis; and on tick-borne encephalitis virus, orthohantaviruses and coronaviruses. Its tasks on these pathogens include surveillance, research and/or reference activities.

The laboratory's units 

The experimental station supports the laboratory units but also carries out its own projects. It capitalises on its expertise and technical strengths on wild carnivores and rodents to explore the role of wildlife in zoonoses and the transmission of pathogens to domestic animals. In particular, it works on the mechanisms of transmission, the crossing of the species barrier and the immune response of wild animal species.


The laboratory is involved in multiple partnerships that change according to the topics. Cooperation ranges from regional to international.

  • Regional partners
    • Strasbourg university hospital, especially its National Reference Centre for Borrelia,
    • Permanent centre for initiatives on the environment, Champenoux,
    • Greater Nancy metropolitan area.
  • National partners
    • Naturalist associations (French society for the study and protection of mammals, chiropterologists, Lorraine mammal study group, etc.),
    • French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD),
    • Caen University Hospital,
    • National reference centres for the pathogens studied,
    • Directorate General for Food (DGAL),
    • Directorate General for Health (DGS),
    • Veterinary schools,
    • National and departmental hunters' federations,
    • French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE),
    • Departmental testing laboratories,
    • French Biodiversity Agency (OFB),
    • Universities.
  • European and international partners
    • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), UK,
    • Public Health England (PHE), UK,
    • Agricultural and Food Development Authority (TEAGASC), Ireland,
    • European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),
    • Animal Health Research Centre (CRESA), Spain,
    • European Commission (EC),
    • European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines (EDQM),
    • National Veterinary Research Institute (PIWET), Poland,
    • National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands,
    • Institut Pasteur in Tunis, Tunisia,
    • Friedrich Loeffler Federal Institute for Animal Health Research (FLI), Germany,
    • Taiwan Animal Health Research Institute (AHRI),
    • European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) for parasitology (Italian National Institute of Health, ISS),
    • National Office of Food Safety (ONSSA), Morocco,
    • World Health Organization (WHO),
    • World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE),
    • European network of national reference laboratories for rabies,
    • European and international network of official rabies serology laboratories,
    • Networks of official rabies serology laboratories,
    • Universities of Barcelona and León (Spain), Tartu (Estonia), Lasi (Romania), Surrey (UK), Georgia (USA), Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Monastir (Tunisia).