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Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee

Occupational Health and Safety Program

OHSP Fact Sheets

Working with research animals is serious business and should not be taken lightly. Although the probability of contracting a disease from a research or teaching animal is remote, you must recognize that there are a number of potential occupational risks associated with contact with animals in the workplace. These "Fact Sheets" have been prepared to help raise awareness of some of the possible risks associated with occupational activities involving animals, and to provide you with pertinent information about some of the known potential hazards. Most importantly, they are designed to help you understand, and consequently help minimize your occupational risk when working with animals in a research, testing, or teaching environment. The fact sheets should not be used as the definitive information source or treatment guide in case of a potential exposure. A physician or other appropriate health care professional should be the ultimate source for advice and / or treatment strategy for a condition. If you have a concern and decide to consult a doctor, you should inform them that you work with animals as part of the history, and it may be helpful to provide them with a copy of the fact sheets as background information. Please read the fact sheets applicable to your particular work environment.

It is important that you: Read and understand the information contained in the fact sheets; Recognize there are occupational risks associated with contact with specific species of laboratory, domestic, or wild animals; Adhere to prevention & control measures for specific conditions. Remember that virtually all hazards associated with research animal contact can be minimized or eliminated by: training, personal protective equipment & clothing (PPE), biocontainment measures, adequate animal housing, careful handling procedures, sanitation, and vaccination. Always remember if you are injured on the job, it is your responsibility to inform your supervisor as soon as possible. Additionally, if you become ill, advise your physician that you work with animals, and that an occupational exposure could be a possibility, however remote.

Everyone Must Read These Fact Sheets:

    •   Fact Sheet 1 - Purpose-bred Animals (PDF)
    •   Fact Sheet 2 - Human Allergies (PDF)
    •   Fact Sheet 33 - Bites-Scratches Kicks (PDF)
    •   Fact Sheet 34 - Sharps (PDF)
    •   Fact Sheet 35 - Immunosuppression (PDF)
    •   Fact Sheet 36 - Latex (PDF)
    •   Fact Sheet 40 - Personal Hygiene (PDF)

Specie-Specific Fact Sheets:

    •   Mice and Rats
    •   Guinea Pigs
    •   Hamsters
    •   Gerbils
    •   Rabbits
    •   Dogs
    •   Cats
    •   Horses
 •   Sheep and Goats
    •   Cattle
    •   Swine
    •   Avians
    •   Ferrets
    •   Reptiles and Amphibians
    •   Nonhuman Primates
    •   Wildlife


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