Kia ora koutou

We are now well into our project on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. The team and panel are working hard to collate the vast range of evidence about the current status and threat of antimicrobial resistance in Aotearoa New Zealand, within the broader context of infectious diseases.

Ngā mihi nui to everyone who has been involved in this project to date, either through the expert workshops hosted at our panel meetings, through other meetings with the team, or by sharing relevant resources via email. The enthusiasm and willingness to help has shown us just how keen people are to act on this problem now to prevent drug-resistant infections taking hold in Aotearoa New Zealand.

In the next few weeks, we will release our first ‘context’ chapter for review by our wider reference group. If you’d like to be part of that group and aren’t yet, please email

The panel and OPMCSA staff standing in a group and smiling

The panel at the meeting held in May 2021.

Originally, our project was going to include a spotlight on group A strep infections, particularly given the potential for serious consequences – rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease – and significant inequities. Though group A strep bacteria isn’t itself a current concern in terms of antibiotic resistance, the widespread use of antibiotics to treat sore throats, and prevent rheumatic fever, does have wider implications for antimicrobial resistance.

As we looked further into the topic of rheumatic fever and engaged widely, including with officials at the Ministry of Health, it became clear that it would be most useful to look at this topic on its own. We’re currently working on a standalone review which synthesises evidence relating to rheumatic fever. The review pulls together evidence about how group A strep infection leads to rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, rates of disease in Aotearoa New Zealand, risk factors for developing rheumatic fever, and the effectiveness of different interventions. We’re aiming to wrap this work up soon so that it feeds into future work for the Ministry of Health in this space. There will also be an opportunity for the reference group to review this work.

As always, get in touch if you’d like to know more about our projects or be involved.

Noho ora mai,

Juliet and Matire