CACTIS - Procedures & Policies

Listed are the guidelines that must be followed by all groups who will have access to the CT Scanners for research purposes. It is the policy of CACTIS to maintain a safe environment and to promote a conscientious approach to research projects and developments.

Overview | Definitions | Health & Safety | Qualifications | CT Guidelines

Health & Safety Issues

Researchers working with mammals are at risk for traumatic injury due to direct animal contact or for infectious disease transmitted by mammals or their parasites. Using appropriate handling techniques, personal protective equipment, and good personal hygiene significantly reduce the risk of injury or illness. Wearing leather or fabric gloves can reduce the risk of bites or scratches. Wearing latex or vinyl gloves and avoiding needle punctures when using syringes or other sharp instruments will minimize exposure to blood or other body fluids and feces. It is recommended that all researchers working in the field maintain up-to-date tetanus immunizations. In addition, although many species may be carriers of the rabies virus, research personnel who work with carnivores should be especially careful to avoid being bitten and should be immunized against rabies.

Mammals often serve as reservoirs (no signs of clinical disease are apparent) for zoonotic disease agents. These include agents such as relapsing fever, murine typhus, salmonellosis, histoplasmosis, and toxoplasmosis. Human infection with some of these zoonotic agents can lead to serious illness or death. Zoonotic diseases can be transmitted through direct contact with infected mammals or their body fluids and feces. Some bacterial diseases primarily of lagomorphs (hares and rabbits), may also be transmitted to humans by arthropod vectors, inhalation of aerosolized bacteria and contact or ingestion of contaminated water, food or soil.

Many zoonotic diseases may be transmitted between species by arthropod vectors such as ticks, fleas and mosquitos. Direct contact with the infected animal is not necessary to acquire infection. Researchers should be aware of what diseases occur in the geographic area they are working in and take appropriate precautions to avoid exposure. In some cases, it may be prudent to use methods that ensure ectoparasites present on an animal are killed or immobilized before handling the animal. Transmission of some zoonotic disease agents occurs through the inhalation of aerosolized urine or feces contaminated with the infected agent. Therefore in some cases masks of a specific type may be necessary for the studies being performed.

A list of animals and a description of the health concerns presented by each is given in Appendix 1 of this document. This list is not comprehensive of every possible etiologic agent for each species. It does provide a basic idea of worst case scenarios of possible exposure. The precautions, procedures and treatment vary, and are generally specific for each agent or animal. A standard operating procedure for handling the specific animals must be available in the laboratory from where the animals originate. It is the responsibility of the Primary Investigator to make certain all those involved with the study understand any special conditions.