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Zoonotic Diseases

The purpose of this section is to inform faculty, staff and students the health risks associated with laboratory animals and to describe means of disease prevention. Zoonotic diseases are infections of animals that could be communicable to humans. The infection in animals may produce a recognizable disease, such as rabies, or it may produce little or no signs of illness. An animal may be asymptomatic with no signs of illness, if it has developed resistance to the infectious agent, yet if transmitted to a human with no specific immunity against the agent, illness could result.

The risk is very low of contracting an illness from laboratory animals. Individuals working directly or indirectly with animals should closely follow the safety guidelines within your department and practice common sense to protect your health and safety. The primary responsibility for maintaining good health lies with each individual.

Good safety practices include:

  1. Activities involving animals should only occur under the direction and guidance of a qualified faculty member.
  2. All areas where animals are housed are “restricted areas”, do not enter unless authorized.
  3. Do not eat or drink in the animal care area.
  4. Do not bring sick or injured animals into the animal care facility without prior authorization from the Veterinarian or appropriate staff member. The animal may introduce pathogens that could spread to other animals.
  5. Under no circumstances may pets be brought into the animal care area.
  6. Always maintain a high level of cleanliness when working around animals
  7. Hand washing frequently.
  8. Wear safety glasses and latex exam gloves
  9. Using caution when working with needles and disposing of the needles attached to syringes, without recapping, directly into sharps containers are very important.
  10. Wear the required protective clothing appropriate for the animal species.
  11. It is mandatory to report injuries such as bites and scratches to LSCS Risk Management.

Consistently following these precautions will protect you from many health hazards.

Emergency Procedures:
All personnel receiving a scratch, bruise or cut while working with animals, or bitten by an animal should apply first aid and report immediately to the Veterinarian on-duty. If cut, bitten or scratched while working with animals:

  1. Wash well with a suitable disinfectant for five minutes, rinsing frequently with running water
    1. do not use a brush for scrubbing open wound.
  2. Apply sterile dressing of bandage.
  3. Arrange for medical service immediately.
  4. Notify the Veterinarian on-duty in order to file health and accident report.
    1. If the Veterinarian is not available to file the report notify the Office of Risk Management.