Health Science

ESR offers world class reference laboratory services and experience for the detection and detailed characterisation of bacteria and viruses that can cause infectious disease.

We manage the Notifiable Disease Database (external link) and also collect information on organisms causing disease through Direct Laboratory Notification and/or other surveillance systems. Our latest annual report can be found here (external link) .

Using our reference laboratory information, the Notifiable Diseases Database, and the information collected from laboratories, our internationally renowned experts collect, collate and analyse data and intelligence on a wide range of diseases present in New Zealand including measles, influenza, gastroenteritis, hepatitis and meningococcal disease.

This work is undertaken under our Agreement with the Ministry of Health and allows us to support our clients to predict where possible, prepare for, identify, respond to actual and potential human biosecurity and public health threats.

This extensive surveillance allows us to identify and characterise individual strains and cases of disease, track any changes in them, and to detect outbreaks and assess the effectiveness of control measures, including vaccines. 

On behalf of the Ministry of Health, we also have the role of collating, checking, analysing and reporting Sexually Transmitted Infections data (external link) from participating clinics and laboratories.

We also maintain a culture collection of medically important bacteria as part of the New Zealand Reference Culture Collection (NZRM).

We are the preferred supplier of scientific services to the Ministry of Health and collaborate on research projects with government agencies, tertiary institutes, national and international health services, and international organisations.