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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the most serious public health threats facing our world and ESR scientists are at the forefront of this surveillance in Aotearoa.
About antimicrobial resistance
About antimicrobial resistance
Antimicrobials are medicines which treat or prevent infections with bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), also sometimes called antibiotic or drug resistance, occurs when microorganisms evolve and become able to replicate despite antimicrobial treatment. . AMR makes infections much harder to treat as these medicines become less effective. It represents one of the most serious global public health threats.
Infections can occur in anyone, but it is the most vulnerable, including the very young, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, who are particularly affected. AMR affects our ability to perform medical treatments and procedures safely, such as surgery and cancer chemotherapy. AMR also means relatively mild and common infections may become untreatable.
Some countries have a much higher prevalence of AMR than others. Aotearoa New Zealand generally has low rates of AMR compared to other countries but rates are increasing. AMR surveillance helps monitor what is happening and to identify any new AMR threats as they emerge.
Antibiotic reference and Nosocomial infections laboratories
ESR’s reference laboratories are responsible for national surveillance of AMR among human pathogens (the microorganisms that cause disease), for providing confirmation of susceptibility results to diagnostic laboratories when needed, and for investigation of outbreaks. ESR collates data from diagnostic laboratories around New Zealand who perform AMR testing, on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
ESR request bacterial isolates listed below to be referred routinely by diagnostic laboratories to the ESR antibiotic reference laboratory for characterisation and surveillance purposes (this does not include specimens for diagnostic testing, nor for requests on a fee for test basis).
Current pathogens to refer to ESR Antibiotic Reference:
Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales and Pseudomonas spp.
Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii
Colistin-resistant Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae
Vancomycin-resistant or linezolid-resistant Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis
Neisseria gonorrhoeae with decreased susceptibility to ceftriaxone or high-level azithromycin resistance (≥ 16 mg/L.)
Vancomycin non-susceptible, daptomycin-resistant or linezolid-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Penicillin non-susceptible Streptococcus pyogenes
Organisms with other critical emerging or unusual resistance patterns
Multidrug-resistant organisms associated with outbreaks (following consultation with ESR)
AMR surveillance reports
Carbapenemase-producing organisms CPO line listing to 31 Jan 2024
Carbapenemase-producing organisms CPO line listing to 31 December 2023
Cumulative line listing of carbapenemase producing organisms confirmed during 2023 up until December
Antibiotic consumption report 2014
One of the key factors responsible for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the use and overuse of antibiotics. This report was the first comprehensive summary of antibiotic consumption in New Zealand, presenting key trends from 2006 – 2014. The report provides baseline information on antibiotic consumption usage according to age, sex, ethnicity and geography (District Health Board). It serves as an ongoing platform on which to gauge the effects of potential future community-based antimicrobial stewardship efforts.