Antibiotic resistant organisms on the increase
ESR microbiologist Kristin Dyet says emerging antibiotic resistant organisms are of increasing concern.
ESR’s Antibiotic Reference Laboratory is responsible for national surveillance of antimicrobial resistance among human pathogens, on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
The World Health Organisation’s Antibiotic Awareness Week, which began on Monday, (Nov 12) highlights increasing concerns about the emergence of bacterial strains showing resistance to all classes of antibiotics commonly used in human medicine.
Dr Dyet says data from local and international sources is used to provide information on antimicrobial resistance in New Zealand.
“We obtain test results from hospital and diagnostic laboratories and also undertake our own testing to give us information on antimicrobial and use that to put together facts and figures on antimicrobial resistance.
“Laboratories are asked to send all isolates (samples) of particular emerging resistant organisms to ESR for particular emerging resistant organisms – some are the ‘super bugs’ that have recently garnered attention in the media,” Dr Dyet says.
“ESR then looks at the characteristics of the organism using the most up-to-date technology, including if it’s susceptible or resistant.
“This is followed by some molecular-based testing looking at the genes that are actually present – either just the antimicrobial resistant gene or the entire genome in a technique called whole genome sequencing.”
Dr Dyet says the number of organisms that are resistant to antibiotics is rising.
“One of the antimicrobial resistant organisms that we are particularly concerned about at the moment is the carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE) – the numbers that we have seen this year are already higher that what we saw in all of 2017, so yes, we are certainly seeing an increase of such organisms referred to this laboratory,” Dr Dyet says.
Listen to Dr Dyet explain ESR’s role in antimicrobial surveillance.