require it or may necessitate bringing animals into a facility where they are not normally housed.
The goal of containment is to “reduce or eliminate exposure of laboratory workers, other persons, and the outside environment to potential hazardous agents” (DHHS 2010). This is accomplished by employing appropriate practices and equipment, vaccinating personnel if a vaccine is available, and ensuring the proper design and operation of the physical plant.
Animal facilities used to study biologic agents that are infectious to humans are categorized into different biosafety levels of escalating containment requirements as described in Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL; DHHS 2009 or most recent version). Each animal biosafety level (ABSL) reflects a combination of practices, safety equipment, and facilities based on risk of human infection. As described in the 2009 edition of the BMBL, ABSL-1 contains agents not known to cause human infection; ABSL-2 contains agents of moderate risk that cause human disease by ingestion or percutaneous or mucosal exposure; ABSL-3 contains agents that cause serious and potentially lethal infections and have known potential for aerosol transmission; and ABSL-4 contains nonindigenous (exotic) agents that pose high individual risk of life-threatening disease and for which there is no available vaccine or treatment. Facility design, engineering criteria, construction methods and materials, commissioning, and validation become more important with each increasing level. The BMBL should be consulted for specific design and engineering requirements. Considerable care should be taken when selecting the team of professionals responsible for the design, engineering, construction, and commissioning of a containment facility.
Guidelines have also been developed for containing agricultural pathogens (USDA ARS 2002), recombinant DNA molecules (NIH 2002), arthropod vectors (ACME, ASTMH 2003), and hazardous chemicals (NRC 1995). Biologic agents and toxins pose a threat to animal and plant health or public health and safety, and facilities in which they are used must adhere to APHIS, USDA, and CDC Select Agent Regulations (CFR 2005; CDC and DHHS 1996; PL 107-56; PL 107-188;) and/or other applicable federal, state, or local regulations. These regulations stipulate, among other requirements, that the institution registered to use select agents establish and adhere to stringent security measures.
The specific facility features, equipment, and safety practices to be employed will depend, to a considerable extent, on whether a specific hazard is a particulate, volatile, or both. Facility features applicable to all hazards include isolation of the animals and their waste, provision of sealed