ESR is the standing army to respond to disease, and support human health. Our team of health scientists provide unprecedented insight and expert advice to help prevent and reduce disease, especially in the area of communicable or infectious disease. 


Public health
Hauora tūmatanui

About ESR's Public Health expertise

At ESR, our team of health scientists provide unprecedented insight and expert advice to help prevent and reduce disease, especially in the area of communicable or infectious disease. 

Our microbiological public health reference laboratories are accredited as Medical Diagnostic Laboratories under ISO 15189:2012 and operate as part of an international network to detect, identify and classify the bacteria, viruses and anti-microbial resistance that cause disease.

As the preferred scientific provider for the Ministry of Health, ESR provides scientific support to government agencies in the event of public health outbreaks, biological threats, as well as emerging threats to health such as Ebola, Zika and measles.

Find out more about the work we do through the links below, our health research case studies(external link), or by contacting us


Health testing

ESR experts work with bacteria and viruses that cause human disease, referred to as pathogenic. The mode of transmission of these pathogenic microbes can be from person-to-person, through contact with animals or, within health care facilities.

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Legionella sampling and testing

Legionellosis is a sometimes fatal respiratory disease that follows infection with Legionella, a bacterium widely distributed in soil and water sources throughout New Zealand.

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Campylobacter typing

Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis in the world. 

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Public health surveillance

ESR’s internationally renowned experts collect, collate and analyse data and intelligence on a wide range of diseases present in New Zealand.

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Pacific consultancy

ESR assists the Pacific region with scientific expertise, information and tools to strengthen policy, programmes and practice to support healthy, safe and resilient communities.

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Environmental radioactivity

ESR offers a range of services for determining radioactivity content in a variety of samples such as food, water, soil, sediment, mining ore and products, biota and air samples.

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NZRM Culture Collection

ESR maintains a culture collection of medically important bacteria. The New Zealand Reference Culture Collection: Medical Section (NZRM) holds over 4,000 strains and supplies reference cultures for quality control, teaching and research. 

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Genomics and next generation sequencing

Genomics is a fast moving field, where changes in DNA sequencing technologies are generating more detailed data on life’s basic building blocks.

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Epidemiological skills development programme

ESR’s epidemiological skills development programme provides training and development of personnel to enhance New Zealand’s ability to investigate and respond to infectious disease events.

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Health intelligence and disease surveillance

ESR’s team of epidemiologists, public health doctors, clinical microbiologists and laboratory scientists provide the Ministry of Health and the wider health sector with intelligence on notifiable diseases and other serious health threats, such as influenza and antimicrobial resistance. 

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EpiSurv and notifiable diseases

If a health practitioner suspects a patient may have a notifiable disease, legally they must report this to a Medical Officer of Health: public health doctors who work at public health units (PHU’s) across the country.

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ESR Clinical Data Repository (CDR) Support

About ESR Clinical Data Repository Support

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