Clinical microbiology laboratories play a critical and increasingly complex role in the diagnosis of infectious disease. The New Zealand Microbiology Network (NZMN) connects these laboratories together in order to provide timely and consistent responses to issues relating to laboratory testing and to ensure regular communication between microbiology laboratories in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Health contracted the Institute of Environmental Science and Research(external link) (ESR) to establish and facilitate the NZMN in 2014.
To get in touch with the NZMN, please contact the Chair. Email NZMN
25th August 2019
CHOOSING WISELY URINE TESTING RECOMMENDATIONS
A list of Choosing Wisely recommendations for urine testing has been launched. The full list is available from the Choose Wisely website(external link).
21st August 2018
FluTracking(external link) was developed in Australia in 2006. It is a surveillance method that can be used to monitor levels of winter respiratory viruses in a community. Although it is called "Flu Tracking", it more specifically surveys "Influenza like illness".
The online survey takes less than 10 seconds to complete every week, and asks participants whether or not they’ve had a cough or a fever in the past week and whether they’ve had the annual influenza vaccine. A weekly reminder to complete the survey is sent out by email.
Each week after participant surveys are completed, the data is collated into a report, which includes respondent numbers for the week, and indicates rates of Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) symptoms in New Zealand and also in individual regions where there is a sufficient number of respondents.
This report is sent weekly to the Ministry of Health to contribute to the overall data picture of ILI in New Zealand, identifying influenza trends and hotspots around the country.
It’s important to note that all information provided is kept confidential and is not shared with any other agencies.
5th December 2017
The NZ Ministry of Health has recently declared a national outbreak (external link)of pertussis (whooping cough). For the latest national surveillance data on pertussis, please click here(external link).
23rd November 2017
The New Zealand National Antimicrobial Susceptibility testing committee (NZ NAC) has just been formed and will have its inaugural meeting in early 2018. It will provide advice to NZ clinical microbiology laboratories on all aspects of antimicrobial susceptibility testing. More details to follow...
13th-19th November 2017
This is a good reminder to everyone of the need to publicise the potential dangers that arise from the misuse of antimicrobials. World Antibiotic Awareness Week is a promotion by the WHO. Educational and promotional materials are available on their website(external link).
12th October 2017
WHO verifies New Zealand has eliminated measles and rubella due to high vaccination rates.
There can be little room for complacency, but encouraging news as the WHO verifes that endemic measles and rubella transmission has been eliminated from New Zealand. Click here(external link) for the full NZ Herald article.
11 August 2017
There has been a significant increase in mumps cases in NZ since the start of 2017. The majority of cases are from the 15-30 year age group. Most cases have been seen in patients who have not been vaccinated for mumps, but there have also been some cases in the vaccinated cohort. A significant proportion of cases have been overseas, and in particular to Fiji or Tonga where mumps is currently circulating.
Please click here(external link) for general advice on mumps from the Ministry of Health.
Please click here(external link) for specific mumps public health advice to health professionals from the Ministry of Health, including an updated clinical case definition.
NZMN laboratory testing advice for mumps is available here [PDF, 284 KB]
We are now in the middle of the flu season in New Zealand. For the latest surveillance report from ESR, please click here.
Can social media give early warning of flu epidemics? The Ministry of Health has been working with Massey Univeristy and Environmental Science and Research Limited to investigate whether social media conversations, on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, can be used as an early indicator of flu outbreaks.
As part of this work, there is a simple online survey to see how New Zealanders use social media when they are sick. More info here.(external link)
The Ministry of Health have released the draft antimicrobial resistance action plan. Countries are invited to present their national action plans at a WHO meeting in May. The Antimicrobial Resistance Action Planning Group's document ' Antimicrobial Resistance: New Zealand's current situation and identified areas for action' is available to view here(external link).