South Africa

National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)

Tel: 27.11.386.6000
Fax: 27.11.882.0596

Private Bag X4
Sandringham, South Africa

Shabir Madhi -  Director


Institute Profile

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) came into being in January 2002 following the restructuring of the public sector medical laboratory services of South Africa and the creation of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) from the previous South African Institute for Medical Research (SAIMR) together with various governmental and provincial laboratories.  The previous National Institute for Virology (NIV) has, in effect, now been replaced by the NICD and has been supplemented by the addition of microbiology, parasitology, and entomology laboratories from the former SAIMR to create a comprehensive public health communicable diseases institution.

NICD is a resource of knowledge and expertise in regionally relevant communicable diseases to the South African Government, SADC countries, and the African continent, assisting in the planning of policies and programmes and supporting appropriate responses to communicable disease problems and issues.  NICD has been established to function as a public health oriented, laboratory-based, national facility distinct from and independent of the existing microbiology/virology laboratories attached to academic centers throughout the country. NICD is a public health oriented entity, rather than a patient-oriented, clinical diagnostic entity, as reflected in its service commitments, research directions. and teaching activities.  It is, to a large extent, modeled on the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.  NICD currently has more than 300 staff members. 

In 2008, the institute established the country’s first national tuberculosis laboratory, and its AIDS research unit received accreditation from the World Health Organization’s reference center for antiretroviral resistance.  Also in 2008, NCID was able to diagnose and characterized a new arenavirus causing viral hemorrhagic fever in Johannesburg.

See the NPHI Case Study on South Africa's NICD.