201b. Disposal of Animal Carcasses
- Animal Carcasses, Tissues, Bedding Infected with Human Pathogens or Transgenic. Dispose of all bedding of animals intentionally exposed to pathogens, animal carcasses, body parts, and items contaminated with blood/blood products in the incinerator located on the roof of the Life Science Building. Collect in leak proof biohazard bags or containers to be incinerated. Double-bag all animal waste to prevent leakage when transporting it to the incinerator. If you need special assistance regarding incineration contact EH&S, 817-272-2185 or the Animal Care Facility (ACF), 817-272-5236
- Utilize rendering facilities as much as feasible.
201c. Exposure to Animal Dander
Allergic reactions to animals is one of the most common conditions that adversely affects the health of workers involved in the care and use of animals in research. One survey demonstrated that three-fourths of all institutions with laboratory animals had animal care workers with allergic symptoms. The estimated prevalence of allergic symptoms in the population of regularly exposed animal care workers ranges from 10 percent to 44 percent. An estimated 10 percent of laboratory workers eventually develop occupational-related asthma.
- Utilize HEPA-vacuum equipped shears and trimming equipment to reduce dander load.
- Individuals with demonstrated allergies to animal dander may need to be reassigned.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) while working with animals. The use of gloves, laboratory coats, masks, eyewear, and other types of protective clothing which are worn only in animal rooms is encouraged.
- Once a person develops allergic symptoms, disposable surgical masks are usually ineffective. Some commercial dust respirators can exclude up to 98 percent of mouse urinary allergens. High-efficiency respirators are most likely to be of value, but they are cumbersome, and often are not used appropriately.
- Employees using effective respiratory protection (respirators) will need respiratory fit-testing and medical clearance.
- Anyone with symptoms related to animal exposure should seek medical diagnosis and treatment.
- Prior to disposal, contact the designated waste coordinator.
201d. Zoonotic Agents Associated with Animal Care
Some animals carry pathogens that can be transmitted to humans through contact with their body fluids, similar to human bloodborne pathogens. This contact can occur through biting, spitting, or contamination of broken skin or mucus membranes with bodily secretions from the animal.
There are more than 200 diseases of animals transmissible to people (zoonoses) currently causing a wide variety of human illness. In addition, as yet undefined zoonotic diseases probably exist that pose infectious risks for people. A report by The Institute of Medicine on various factors implicated in the emergence of infectious diseases within the United States emphasized that, “The significance of zoonoses in the emergence of human infections cannot be overstated.” Effective control of many human zoonoses first, or concomitantly, requires control in animals.
The EH&S Office has adopted the National Research Council's "Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals" as a primary reference on animal care and use. The goal of the Guide is to promote the humane care of animals used in research, teaching, and testing but it also contains guidelines on how to safely work with laboratory animals. Each institution should establish and provide resources for an animal care and use program that is managed in accord with this Guide and in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations such as the Federal Animal Welfare Regulations and Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Departments conducting animal research must have an effective occupational health and safety program which ensures that the risks associated with the experimental use of animals are reduced to acceptable levels. Potential hazards such as animal bites, chemical cleaning agents, allergens, and zoonoses that are inherent in or intrinsic to animal use should be identified and evaluated. More specific practices are agent-specific and should be decided upon based on consultation with the principal investigator and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).
- Develop a protocol that outlines how the agent(s), animals and associated materials will be prepared, stored, handled and disposed of properly.
- Review protocol with animal care personnel to familiarize them with hazards.
- Post area with biohazard warning signs.
- Participate in an Occupational Medicine Program.
- Utilize appropriate PPE, based on nature of hazard and exposure. Wear gloves, masks, and laboratory coats whenever entering an area where animals are housed.
- Prohibit eating, drinking, smoking or applying cosmetics in areas where animals are housed or used.
- No animals should be kept overnight anywhere except in the designated animal rooms.
- All contaminated or infected substances should be handled in such a way as to minimize aerosols.
- All work surfaces should be decontaminated daily and after any spill of animal-related material.
- Wash hands with soap and water after handling of animals and prior to leaving the laboratory for any reason.
- Certain infections are transmitted from animals to humans primarily by the animals’ feces or urine entering a human’s body by mouth. Examples of this usual means of transmission are Salmonella, Shigella and Entamoeba. It cannot be stressed enough that every precaution should be taken to avoid this mode of transmission by alertness and very careful personal hygiene.
- Keep hands away from your mouth, eyes, nose and hair when handling animals.
- Utilize standard industrial hygiene practices, which include good housekeeping and work practices.