Minimizing Risks Associated with Transporting Research Animals with Experimentally Introduced Zoonoses

Increased efforts to improve the biosecurity of human populations and the agricultural sector have resulted from passage of the USA Patriot Act (2001), the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act (2002), and enforcement of three parts of the Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR 73, 7 CFR 331, and 9 CFR 121). These regulations establish lists of agents and toxins that have been deemed threats to humans, animals, and plants (see Table 4-1). The regulations require research laboratories that possesses any of the aforementioned agents to register its facility with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), designate a responsible official, perform background checks of persons who have access to the agents (conducted by the Department of Justice), and have a security plan for containment of the infectious agent. When infected animals must be transported, a plan for secure transportation must be in place. That plan would normally require:

  • close communication between shipper and recipient;

  • presence of responsible officials at the originating and receiving institutions;

  • transfer of health records and assurances;

  • identification of a carrier registered by the US Department of Agriculture;

  • documentation of safety and security training of animal care personnel;

  • notification of the appropriate institutional or CDC officials in case of emergency, loss, or theft;

  • existence of emergency procedures (see Table 4-2); and

  • good record maintenance.

Institutions are also required to have the appropriate level of laboratory biocontainment as outlined by CDC and the National Institutes of Health in the Biosafety in Microbial and Biomedical Laboratories Manual (BMBL). Although many shippers meet some of the requirements for laboratory biocontainment, not all meet all of the requirements, the result of which is a lack of uniformity in biosecurity during transportation. The characteristics of a good shipper are outlined in Table 4-3. Further, bio-containment requirements for transportation of infected animals (Appendix C, BMBL) are not as clearly defined as laboratory biocontainment

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