Bacteriology reference department (BRD)

BRD is a national and international laboratory reference centre for a wide range of bacterial infections.

The Bacteriology reference department (BRD) provides serology and confirmatory testing, on referral from Rare and imported pathogens laboratory (RIPL) only.

The department (BRD) is made up of 3 units:

  • Respiratory and vaccine preventable bacteria reference unit (RVPBRU)
  • Gastrointestinal bacteria reference unit (GBRU)
  • Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections reference unit (AMRHAI)

These laboratories work together locally, nationally and internationally and provide a wealth of expertise and specialist and reference services.

BRD receives clinical samples and bacterial isolates from public health departments, NHS and commercial laboratories across the UK and internationally for specialist testing, bacterial characterisation and susceptibility testing.

Important service update

To enable Public Health England (PHE) reference and specialist laboratories to continue to provide critical support to the enhanced COVID-19 incident, some service delivery changes have been made with immediate effect.

The following updates have since been issued:

  • Legionella services (urine antigen testing, PCR, culture and typing) are unaffected (see user manual for details)
  • Streptococcal identification and typing services are offered as routine, with priority to outbreak typing (GBS and GAS)
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae macrolide resistance testing is not suspended, but samples may be batched and turnaround times may be extended

The situation will be regularly reviewed. For the most current information, contact the relevant department using the contact details provided in the BRD user manual.


Bacteriology reference department (BRD)

Public Health England
61 Colindale Avenue

BRD documents

AMRHAI documents

Use the Electronic Reporting System for the Enhanced Surveillance of Carbapenemase-Producing Gram-Negative Bacteria.

GBRU documents

RVPBRU documents

Published 1 July 2014
Last updated 14 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added notification of service delivery changes made to PHE reference and specialist laboratories to provide critical support to the COVID-19 incident.

  2. Removed STBRU section due to organisational changes.

  3. Edited the STBRU document group.

  4. Added three new forms.

  5. First published.