The Northern Territory (NT) of Australia is renowned for having a heavy burden of infectious diseases, due to the presence of a large and diverse group of distinct microbial pathogens that infect both the Indigenous and the non-Indigenous populations. However, for the most, the NT lacks the informative and interrogative laboratory methods that could be used to enhance epidemiological surveillance. This requires prompt attention and correction as a matter of urgency, especially in the case of sexually transmitted diseases, which are a substantial public health issue in the NT. The key areas of sexually transmitted diseases requiring improvement are, genotyping of Chlamydia trachomatis, and antimicrobial resistance surveillance of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. To address these issues this project aimed to 1) Determine if the addition of further genetic markers into the CtGEM typing method will increase the assay’s performance and justify the increased complexity of the method. 2) Incorporate 7 N. gonorrhoeae genotyping assays within the department of Serology/Molecular Biology of Territory Pathology. 3) Investigate the antimicrobial resistance patterns of Neisseria gonorrhoeae from 2016 to 2017. Bio-informatic tools were used to assess if the candidate genetic markers could enhance the CtGEM method performance. Furthermore, 1,348 N. gonorrhoeae characterised clinical specimens from the period of 2016-2017 were screened for resistance genes. The study’s results revealed that the CtGEM typing performance could not improve with the candidate targets and that incorporation of N. gonorrhoeae AMR surveillance methods in the NT is applicable and necessary due to the presence of resistant strains of N. gonorrhoeae.
|Date of Award||Jan 2019|
|Supervisor||Philip Giffard (Supervisor), David W Whiley (Supervisor) & Kevin Freeman (Supervisor)|