The National Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance (NRL-AR) in Italy, at IZSLT, has in recent years made considerable effort in programming monitoring and reporting activities concerning antimicrobial resistance in the veterinary field. It has a ‘One Health’ perspective and functions for the benefit of animal health and veterinary public health. It operates with the help of a national network, mainly consisting Veterinary Public Institutes Network (IIZZSS – Experimental Animal Disease Prevention Institutes), the National Reference Laboratories for zoonotic bacterial agents, and collaborates with the Istituto Superiore della Sanità (National Institute of Health). It is also part of an international network that monitors and harmonises analytical methods, as well as reports and interprets monitoring data for the benefit of public health in the EU Member State, Italy, and the European Commission.
As part of its institutional duties, the NRL provides advice and technical support to a number of organisations that include: the Ministero della Salute (Ministry of Health), the Dipartimento della Sanità Pubblica Veterinaria (Department of Veterinary Public Health), government bodies for food safety and the protection of health, the IIZZSS and other public health institutions, as required by current legislation (Article 2, Ministerial Decree of 4 October 1999).
Another objective of the NRL-AR is to maintain a monitoring system for antibiotic resistance in veterinary medicine for the Italian territory, for future surveillance. The purpose is to identify the emergence and spread of resistance (and multi-resistance to antibiotics) in certain categories of bacteria of animal origin (animal pathogens, zoonotic and indicator bacteria), and to communicate information at national and international levels through reports and peer-reviewed publications in international journals.