Section 5.1 Contact Allergen Bank Australia

About Contact Allergen Bank Australia

Contact Allergen Bank Australia (CABA) is an initiative in Australia to assist dermatologists to diagnose allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). It is based on an idea which originated in Denmark and involves the preparation of individualized patch tests which are sent out to dermatology practices. CABA offers an alternative patch testing service to traditional patch testing and also to the less comprehensive option of True Test®.

Aims of CABA:

    • To provide Australian dermatologists, particularly those in regional and rural areas access to comprehensive patch testing resources, available in a timely manner
    • To improve the prognosis of contact dermatitis with identification of skin allergens relevant to their skin condition
    • To enable dermatologists to develop experience and expertise in contact dermatitis
    • To collect patch testing data at a national level

Benefits of CABA

    • Allows patients who do not have access to patch testing facilities the opportunity to have patch testing performed
    • More comprehensive than True Test°
    • Easy access to over 400 allergens
    • Quick time frame i.e., less than 2 weeks, compared to lengthy waiting lists in some patch testing clinics
    • Access to expertise advice – via phone or email
    • To enable dermatologists to develop experience and expertise in contact dermatitis, without the costs of purchasing allergens or paying for nursing staff

How to register for CABA

Dermatologists that are interested in patch testing need to register for CABA. This can be done by downloading a registration form from our website, by emailing [email protected].

Once details have been received, the dermatologist will be set up with access to PatchCams© (www.patchcams.asn.au), with a password and user-code being sent out via auto-generated email.

This password is a temporary and should be changed the first time you access PatchCams.asn.au

How the CABA process works

Once registered, dermatologists select the patch test series that they would like to test on a particular patient and order allergens. The patch tests are then prepared at the Skin Health Institute and mailed/couriered to the dermatologist, together with a test sheet and invoice. Please see attachment on CABA for further information.

Timeline for an allergen order

Please give one week’s notice when lodging an order. But we can prepare orders urgently if needed. We are mailing orders Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and some Fridays. If you need an order urgently, please call the Skin Health Institute, Melbourne on +61 3 9623 9400. . Please ensure orders are received by lunch time at the latest. When ordering allergens please specify what date you plan on using the tests, so they can be prepared and sent accordingly. If ordering online, please ensure the ‘Date required’ box is completed. We send the orders out as close to the time of use as possible. The allergy tests last 10 days. Expiry dates are now being applied to the patches to ensure all are used in a timely manner.

Storage of patches

Store patches in the fridge or in a dry, cool place, away from direct sunlight.

What to order:

Generally, we recommend that all patients are tested with the Australian Baseline Series (ABS). This series contains the most common causes of allergy seen in Australia, and contains a wide range of allergens. In addition, we recommend series/ allergens that are relevant to the patients’ rash or occupation should be added. We have almost 50 additional series that you can choose from (see attachment). The cost of allergens from CABA are available on PatchCams.

Generally, a dermatologist using CABA passes the costs onto the patient, taking into consideration the Medicare item numbers currently available. Some clinics require patients to pay a deposit when the allergen order is lodged, to cover the doctors’ costs should the patient cancel or not turn up to the appointment despite the allergens already being supplied

Videos to watch:

April 2021 – Update on CABA (Ms. A. Palmer)

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