“A single misdiagnosis of an SSBA has enormous political, economic and human consequences. The use of appropriate proficiency testing programs is a major way of reducing the risk of misdiagnosis”.
Prior to events in the United States in September 2001, bioterrorism was not a highly visible area of public health in Australia. Since then an emerging view of bioterrorism as a global threat has received increased recognition as has the need for associated biopreparedness in laboratory services .
In 2008 RCPA Quality Assurance Programs Pty Ltd received a grant from the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to establish a proficiency testing program for Security Sensitive Biological Agents (SSBA).
Since 2009 RCPAQAP Biosecurity have been sending specialised surveys to a number of laboratories within Australia that have facilities for handling and testing these SSBA.
RCPAQAP Biosecurity offer Virtual Modules for routine diagnostic laboratories.
In 2013 the challenge is to continue to offer pathology laboratories within Australia unique opportunities for learning about SSBA. Routine diagnostic laboratories are often the first to encounter an SSBA and have the ability to save many lives by quickly and confidently referring suspected SSBA to PHLN Reference laboratories for confirmation.
In 2013 RCPAQAP Biosecurity will offer Specimen and Virtual Modules to approved New Zealand laboratories and Virtual Modules to other approved laboratories overseas.