The Centre for Emerging Zoonotic and Parasitic Diseases (CEZPD) was established by the amalgamation of six former NICD sections: Special Bacterial Pathogens Reference Laboratory, Special Viral Pathogens Reference Laboratory, Arbovirus Reference Laboratory, Electron Microscopy, Parasitology Reference Laboratory and Vector Control Reference Laboratory. The CEZPD operates the only suit biosafety level 4 (BSL4) facility on the African continent, which places it both strategically and critically in a position to assist in the response of highly dangerous emerging and re-emerging zoonotic pathogens.
The CEZPD has a strong track record in providing a comprehensive capacity for the differential diagnosis and research of viral haemorrhagic fevers, arthropod-borne diseases, human rabies, anthrax, plague, leptospirosis and other infectious diseases of public health importance. Furthermore, CEZPD offers specialised parasitological diagnostic tests and is involved in the surveillance of drug-resistant malaria and vector control strategies in South Africa. The CEZPD, in addition, provides training to BSc Hons, MSc and PhD students, and national and international research fellows in laboratory techniques, including training in working in BSL3 and BSL4 biocontainment facilities.