NATA accredits Japanese encephalitis tests


Wednesday, 16 March, 2022

NATA accredits Japanese encephalitis tests

The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) has seen a jump in interest from laboratories seeking accreditation for testing for Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) following a dramatic rise of reported cases in the community that has prompted public health warnings.

JEV is spread by mosquitoes and can infect humans and animals. Most people who contract JEV will have no or very mild symptoms and fully recover; however, in a small percentage of cases (less than 1%) the virus can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), which may lead to death or permanent disability.

A number of deaths have already been associated with JEV, and Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt last week announced $69 million in funding to combat it.

“With Japanese encephalitis virus spreading across the eastern states, we are seeing an increase in enquiries from human pathology and animal health laboratories looking to be accredited for the test,” NATA Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Evans said.

“NATA provides accreditation for both serological and molecular biological techniques for Japanese encephalitis virus, with accreditation ensuring consumers can be confident that the test they are taking is being done competently.

“NATA will prioritise accreditation of laboratories looking to have the test accredited in the interests of public safety.”

NATA is known to be the world’s oldest accreditation body and a not-for-profit organisation which, for more than 75 years, has been working behind the scenes ‘testing the testers’, helping to deliver confidence and assurance for domestic and international products and services. NATA has already accredited several laboratories for testing of JEV.

Human pathology laboratories accredited by NATA to conduct serology testing for Japanese encephalitis:

  • NSW Health Pathology
  • PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA
  • Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory

Human pathology laboratories accredited by NATA to conduct PCR testing for Japanese encephalitis:

  • Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory
  • Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services

Animal health laboratories accredited by NATA to conduct PCR testing for Japanese encephalitis:

  • AN 13546 CSIRO — Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP)
  • AN 13626 Department of Industry Tourism and Trade
  • 14796 Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department, Veterinary Laboratory Division

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