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Animals and Allergens. Risk Assessment for Work with Research Animals. Risks associated with the research agent used in the animal chemical, physical, biological Risks associated with the species of animal used zoonotic agents Risks associated with animal maintenance

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risk assessment for work with research animals
Risk Assessment for Work with Research Animals
  • Risks associated with the research agent used in the animal
    • chemical, physical, biological
  • Risks associated with the species of animal used
    • zoonotic agents
  • Risks associated with animal maintenance
    • ergonomic factors, bites, scratches, allergens
risks associated with the agent used
Risks Associated with the Agent Used
  • Chemical agents
    • carcinogens, mutagens
    • toxic chemicals
    • anesthetics
  • Physical agents
    • radiation
    • heat
    • sound
risks associated with the agent used4
Risks Associated with the Agent Used
  • Potentially biohazardous agents
    • deliberate use of an infectious agent in animals for research purposes
    • maintenance of infected animal for duration of experiment
    • sacrifice, necropsy and harvesting of

agent or infected tissue

transmission of biohazards during work with animals
Transmission of Biohazards During Work with Animals


  • Release of infectious aerosols by animal by sneezing, coughing
  • Release during nasal infection or aerosol challenge
  • Aerosolization from bedding and excreta
  • During surgical procedures
  • During birthing
transmission of biohazards during work with animals6
Transmission of Biohazards During Work with Animals

Direct Inoculation

  • Needlesticks during injection/inoculation process
  • Bites and scratches from infected animal
transmission of biohazards during work with animals7
Transmission of Biohazards During Work with Animals

Direct exposure of mucous membranes

(by splash or splatter)

  • During surgical procedures
  • During injection
  • During necropsy
transmission of biohazards during work with animals8
Transmission of Biohazards During Work with Animals

Indirect transmission and ingestion

  • From contaminated hands or gloves to mouth
  • Facial contamination directly from animal
  • Transfer of parasites by animal handling

Indirect transmission with eye or mucous

membrane exposure

  • Dust from bedding
  • Splash during cage washing
  • “Dirty” environment
risk reduction containment of infectious agent
Risk Reduction: Containment of Infectious Agent
  • Containment must include:
    • Primary containment
      • Enclosed filtered caging system
      • Biosafety cabinets
      • Safety equipment
      • PPE
    • Secondary containment
      • The containment facility
        • Negative pressurization
        • Nonrecirculated air supply
        • Ventilation must consider wellbeing of animal
containment caging systems
Containment Caging Systems
  • No Containment
    • Open (standard) cage
  • Some Containment
    • Filter top cage

(microisolator cage)

  • Full Containment
    • Fully enclosed in

ventilated rack

containment caging systems11
Containment Caging Systems
  • Microisolator Cage
    • works like a Petri dish
    • open gaps around lid edge allow limited air exchange
    • may lead to more labor intensive husbandry due to moisture and ammonia buildup
containment caging systems12
Containment Caging Systems
  • Individual cages sealed into rack with supplied air under negative pressure
  • Both supply and exhaust usually HEPA filtered
  • Ventilation must control humidity and buildup of ammonia
containment caging systems13
Containment Caging Systems
  • Can install cages in class III biosafety cabinet
  • Cages are completely contained with glove port access
  • Very motion-limiting
  • Transfer in and out may be an issue
containment caging systems14
Containment Caging Systems
  • BioBubble (Ft. Collins, CO) makes soft-wall ventilated enclosures
  • Can be containment or barrier style
  • Large equipment can be surface-mounted in wall
special animal housing situations
Special Animal Housing Situations
  • Barrier colonies
    • Special breeds - often immunocompromised, “fragile”, expensive (SCID-Hu, nude athymics)
    • Transgenics - often even more fragile and expensive (knockouts, microinjected, combos)
    • Specific pathogen-free (SPF) - bred and raised to be missing certain specific microorganisms
  • Isolation colonies
    • Extensive SPFs and defined flora animals
    • Gnotobiotes (an entirely different animal!)
  • Zoonotic disease: A disease of animals that can be transmitted under natural conditions and cause disease in humans
    • Wild caught animals most hazardous
    • Random source animals (e.g., from a pound) are also a risk
    • Purpose bred animals pose least risk
some animals and their zoonoses

Macaque monkeys


White mouse

Dogs, cats, skunks, raccoons, bats

Cattle, NHP


Parrots, macaws



Herpes B virus

Q fever






Avian influenza

Some Animals and Their Zoonoses
rodent zoonoses
Rodent Zoonoses
  • Rat bite fever (Streptobacillus moniliformis, Spirillum minus)
    • transmission: direct contact (bites)
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCM, a virus)
    • transmission: inhalation
  • Leptospirosis (Leptospira spp.)
    • transmission: inhalation
  • Others include ringworm (fungal), scabies (mites, an ectoparasite)
transmission of zoonoses
Transmission of Zoonoses
  • Enteric route (fecal/oral)
    • Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter,

Giardia, Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium,

Entamoeba, Hepatitis A

  • Respiratory route
    • Q fever, Chlamydia, Measles
  • Skin contact
    • Ringworm (Tinea), Measles, Monkeypox
control of zoonoses
Get information on species and agent

Quarantine animals prior to use

Use Engineering controls

facility construction and

secondary barriers

Consider the need for containment caging

Use Administrative controls

written SOPs and



additional protection for


Practice good facility and personal hygiene

Provide staff training

Control of Zoonoses
laboratory acquired allergies laa
Laboratory Acquired Allergies (LAA)
  • Significant occupational disease
  • Affects >30% of all personnel working with animals
  • No minimum safe exposure levels to allergens have been established
  • Animal allergens found in hair, dander, urine, saliva, serum
    • fel-d-l cat allergen (in saliva and thus on skin) is one of the strongest allergens known for humans
sources of exposure to laa
Sources of Exposure to LAA
  • Hair and dander shed from animal
  • Urine and feces dried in bedding
  • Particulates shed from bedding material
  • Animal saliva
routes of exposure to laa
Routes of Exposure to LAA
  • Inhalation of airborne allergens
    • during cage changing
    • during animal handling
  • Skin or eye contact
    • usually indirect by touching skin, eyes
  • Percutaneous exposure
    • animal bites (saliva)
risk factors for development of laa
Risk Factors for Development of LAA
  • Exposure to allergens
    • duration
    • frequency
    • intensity
  • Previous allergic conditions
  • Other predisposing conditions
    • illness
    • Immunocompromised
    • pets
laa exposure control
LAA: Exposure Control
  • Engineering Controls
    • enclosure
    • dilution ventilation
  • Administrative Controls
    • reduce time with animals
    • reduce density of animals
    • housekeeping practices
  • Personal Protective Equipment
    • respirators and clothing
  • Medical Surveillance