Gaia Valeria

Swiss National Reference Centre for Legionella, Bellinzona, Switzerland

Valeria Gaia has worked as a microbiologist on the taxonomy, physiology and epidemiology of Legionella since more than 20 years and is Head of the Swiss National Reference Center for Legionella in Bellinzona since its creations in 1997. The activity of the Centre as reference laboratory includes, among others, confirmation of diagnostic tests, microbiological analysis of environmental samples and genetic and serological typing of Legionella strains. During the last years the research of the National Reference Centre work has focused mainly on the development of typing techniques (AFLP and SBT) and of new identification and detection methods (MALDI-TOF, co-culture, Loop-mediated amplification LAMP). In collaboration with the national health authorities the National Reference Centre also investigated the influence of meteorological factors on the occurrence of Legionnaires’ disease cases and evaluated the importance of alternative sources of legionellosis, such as potting soils and composting facilities.