French Forces Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMTSSA), France

The French Forces Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMTSSA) is located in the Pharo Palace Park in Marseille, France. Its main objectives are to provide practical training for healthcare workers in tropical climates and to perform research in tropical biology.

The Institute organises continuing medical education and occupational training courses for physicians, pharmacists, laboratory specialists, veterinarians, and healthcare workers from military and civilian sectors in France and abroad.

The five main research interests of the Institute are, Public Health, malaria, arbovirus infections (dengue, yellow fever etc.), entomology and meningococcal meningitis. The meningococcus unit has been a WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Meningococci since 1965. As a reference laboratory, it receives strains isolated in several countries, particularly those from Africa. It participates in the surveillance of meningococcal meningitis in the meningitis belt of Africa.

The meningococcus unit’s research focuses on molecular epidemiology using multi locus sequence typing (MLST) and pulsed field gel electrophoresis, which permits the hypervirulent / hyperinvasive clones of meningococci to be followed all over the world.