The New Zealand National Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Committee (NZ NAC) was formed in late 2017 to provide expert advice to New Zealand diagnostic laboratories and to further the collaboration and sharing of skill development in the area of antimicrobial susceptibility testing within New Zealand.



Guideline for reporting of antimicrobials for New Zealand microbiology laboratories 

Guidelines for reporting of antimicrobials for New Zealand microbiology laboratories [PDF, 418 KB]

This document aims to provide a framework for diagnostic microbiology laboratories within New Zealand to implement important key principles when reporting antimicrobial susceptibility test results. It builds on recent guidance provided by the RCPA and has been adapted for the New Zealand context. It is well known that reporting of susceptibility testing results can have a direct influence of clinician prescribing and limiting what is reported to the most appropriate choice is a helpful strategy to support antimicrobial stewardship principles and improve prescribing. It is not compulsory for laboratories to adopt these recommendations but we wish to encourage their use.

See here(external link) for version 2 of the RCPA selective reporting guideline.

Minimum laboratory requirements for the detection of CPE from clinical samples and screening specimens

 Minimum laboratory requirements for the detection of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales from clinical samples and screening specimens [PDF, 1.2 MB]

This document (reviewed in July 2023) provides a minimum requirement for the laboratory detection of CPE in New Zealand with the aim of ensuring that laboratories take a consistent approach to screening high-risk patients for CPE. Details are given so that laboratories can identify when confirmatory testing, referral of CPE isolates, and notification to clinical and infection prevention teams is required.

Laboratories are encouraged to read the document and implement the recommendations.


NZ NAC study reports

NZ NAC CPE isolate survey, July 2019 [PDF, 720 KB]

In August 2018, the NZ NAC introduced guidelines for the detection of CPE from clinical samples and screening specimens. As part of an annual review process to identify any shortfalls in the document, and to assess compliance to the standards, 3 isolates and a questionnaire were sent to each laboratory in June 2019. Overall, laboratories performed very well, with most being able to comply with the minimum standards guidelines, identifying the presence or possibility of a carbapenemase in each isolate. The most challenging isolate was an OXA-48-producing E. coli, which coproduced an ESBL, had only low-level resistance to meropenem, and was a weak carbapenem hydrolyser. Temocillin is a sensitive, but not specific, marker for OXA-48, and might be a useful addition to routine screens for resistance mechanism detection, particularly when testing E. coli


Colistin antimicrobial susceptibility testing study [PDF, 428 KB]

EUCAST have issued a warning regarding the poor performance of disc diffusion, MIC gradient strips and automated systems for reliably detecting colistin resistance in Gram-negative bacilli. The issues include the poor diffusion of colistin molecules into the agar, drug powder composition and heteroresistance. The discovery of a readily transferable, plasmid-mediated gene, mcr-1, has further complicated detection of resistance. As such, EUCAST currently recommends broth microdilution (BMD) as the only valid method to determine colistin susceptibility. The NZ NAC group conducted a small study to evaluate a variety of commercial methods for the detection of colistin resistance, including Liofilchem colistin MIC Test Strips, BD Phoenix NMIC-404, Rapid Polymyxin NP, Liofilchem SensiTest Colistin BMD, and Trek Sensititre EURGNCOL BMD.


Haemophilus influenzae antimicrobial susceptibility testing study [PDF, 530 KB]

Several laboratories have indicated an increase of β-lactamase-negative ampicillin-resistant (BLNAR) H. influenzae, after switching from CLSI to EUCAST. A recent study looking at 100 H. influenzae clinical isolates; measuring penicillin, ampicillin and cefuroxime disc zone sizes, as well as ampicillin MICs, using EUCAST guidelines has been carried out. Analysis of ftsI gene mutations (PBP3 substitutions) was also performed. The study found an excellent correlation between the EUCAST recommended screening method of penicillin 1 unit disc and ftsI gene mutations, predominantly affecting cephalosporins rather than ampicillin.  


NZ NAC newsletters

Newsletter 1 - October 2018 [PDF, 418 KB]

Newsletter 2 - December 2019 [PDF, 490 KB]

Newsletter 3 - July 2021(external link)


Education Bugs

The 2022 Education Bugs exercise centred on detection of penicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, and antimicrobial reporting choices. Read the report here. [PDF, 999 KB]



ESR Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Reports (external link) 

Australian National AST Committee(external link)

EUCAST(external link)


Contact Us

All communications and enquiries to the NZ NAC should be through the NZ NAC administrator.



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