facilities should minimally include dedicated clothing, gloves, and mask. The Committee stresses that PPE should only serve as a safety net if engineering and work practices should fail. But in light of the potentially fatal risks associated with B virus and other viral exposures, the appropriate use of PPE is a particularly important issue. The Committee concluded that because of the risk of B virus infection, the use of eye and face protection should be mandatory for individuals working with macaques. The Committee also recommended that eye and face protection be used when working with any Old World primate, due to the potential for infection by other primate viruses such as simian immunodeficiency virus. For other nonhuman-primate species, the Committee recommends that the use of eye and face protection be determined locally, based on risk assessment and management processes outlined in this report.
Appropriate medical care after a suspected occupational exposure to a zoonotic pathogen is another area where specific guidance has been lacking in spite of various federal regulations and guidelines. The Committee determined that the first and often most critical step in developing an OHSP is the establishment of a relationship with a pre-designated occupational health care provider. Involving the designated medical providers in determining exposure risks before an incident occurs may lead to quicker and more efficacious post-exposure management. In this report, the Committee makes specific recommendations for medical management following exposure to or injury from nonhuman primates.
The field of occupational health and safety constantly changes, especially as it pertains to biomedical research. The emergence of new hazards presents diverse challenges to employers who must ensure the safety of their employees. New infectious hazards are of particular importance at nonhuman-primate facilities. For example, the discovery that B virus can be transmitted via a splash on a mucous membrane raises new concerns that must be addressed, as does the discovery of the Reston strain of Ebola virus in import quarantine facilities in the United States. The risk of such infectious hazards is best managed through a flexible and comprehensive OHSP that can identify and mitigate potential hazards. It is incumbent on those responsible for nonhuman-primate research facilities, from the senior institutional officer to the facility manager to line supervisors, to develop, improve, and implement such a program.