The Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AGAR) – Update

Geoffrey Coombs

School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, South Street, WA, 6050,


The Australian Group for Antimicrobial Resistance (AGAR) plays a unique role in the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in Australia. It has a broad laboratory membership in all capital cities and in several regional areas. Established in 1986, AGAR is operated by the Australian Society for Antimicrobials and is funded by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.  Over the last thirty years AGAR has conducted major national surveys of resistance in Staphylococcus aureus, which have documented the spread of different clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Australian hospitals, Enterococcus, Enterobacteriacae, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenza.

Initially a snapshot-based surveillance program, in 2013 AGAR commenced three ongoing sepsis programs: the Australian Staphylococcus Sepsis Outcome Program (ASSOP), the Australian Enterococcus Sepsis Outcome Program (AESOP), and the Australian Gram Negative Sepsis Outcome Program (GnSOP).  The programs are continuous and include the molecular characterisation of isolates performed by the two AGAR reference laboratories located at Murdoch University (ASSOP and AESOP) and University of Adelaide (GnSOP).  As the sepsis programs are similar to those performed by the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net), comparison of Australia’s antimicrobial resistance prevalence with many European countries can be made


The surveillance programs performed by AGAR have provided Australia a unique perspective on emerging patterns of resistance in key pathogens. The use of an active surveillance strategy with standard methodology has produced data accurately reflecting the changing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in Australia’s major hospitals as well as in the community

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