CPE scoping survey for Public Health Units

Closed 10 Feb 2023

Opened 26 Sep 2022


Purpose and Scope

The Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN) Expert Reference Panel (ERP) on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) will survey public health laboratories, public health units and other laboratories or teams involved in the testing and reporting of carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales (CPE). This information will be used for a data-informed analysis, to understand how CPE is detected by testing, reported and actioned in Australia.

Key aims

The key aim of this survey is to understand what will be required to adopt nationally consistent microbiological testing practices for public health and diagnostic laboratories across all Australian jurisdictions.

To do this, the study will adopt a top-down approach. A survey of public health laboratories/laboratories performing CPE surveillance testing and public health units will be used to firstly understand the current surveillance of CPE in each jurisdiction (including whether CPE infections are notifiable) and secondly understand what data exists and how it is being used. The results of this survey will inform the development of a second survey for other laboratories and centres involved in CPE testing and reporting (including referral of samples to reference laboratories), to understand if there are established microbiological testing criteria for CPE.


CPE has emerged globally in the last two decades as a significant threat to human health, with near-untreatable infections and with high mortality rates.   This has demanded enhanced surveillance and response to CPE outbreaks.

CPE was relatively uncommon in Australia, however recent local outbreaks in Victoria and South Australia have prompted the development of enhanced surveillance and response systems in a number of jurisdictions.  This pragmatic approach means that CPE surveillance is currently fragmented at a national level, and differs significantly between jurisdictions.

Anticipated outcomes

The key aim of this survey is to develop nationally consistent protocols for public health authorities and microbiology laboratories on the testing and reporting of CPE in Australia.


  • Health professionals
  • Health workforce


  • Communicable diseases