Escherichia coli and coagulase-positive Staphylococcus are recognised as major zoonotic pathogens causing serious infection in both humans and animals. Recently, there has been an increase in the prevalence of multidrug-resistant E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus spp. in both humans and animals around the globe. The Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance perform period-prevalence studies to monitor changes in antimicrobial resistance in these pathogens when they cause clinical infections in humans. However, Australia currently has no national network of surveillance for monitoring antimicrobial resistance in animals. Zoetis (formerly, Pfizer Animal Health) has recognised this critical need and is sponsoring a pilot project to conduct the first nationwide survey on antimicrobial resistance in these two key pathogens when they are identified as causes of animal disease. The aim of the study is to establish baseline susceptibility data for antimicrobials of veterinary and public health significance, using isolates obtained by a collaborating network of veterinary diagnostic laboratories (n=22) throughout the country.
The survey aims to collect coagulase-positive staphylococci (n=1500) and E. coli (n=1500) identified as causes of clinical infection in any animal species from Jan-Jun 2013. All isolates will be subjected to CLSI disc diffusion susceptibility testing for 16-18 antimicrobials. Since the survey is ongoing, interim results will be presented at the conference. At the end of the survey, each individual laboratory will receive a confidential report of their isolates’ susceptibility profiles based on CLSI break points, thus providing an accuracy assessment of current veterinary susceptibility testing methods. This study will provide the first nationwide data on antimicrobial resistance in these key animals pathogens to evaluating the public health impact of veterinary use of antimicrobials in both livestock and companion animals. The baseline data will guide the further development of policies and guidelines for the prudent use of antimicrobials in Australia’s animal industries.