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Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition
as gloves, arm protectors, suitable face masks, face shields, and goggles (NRC 2003a). Hearing protection should be available in high-noise areas (OSHA 1998c). Personnel working in areas where they might be exposed to contaminated airborne particulate material or vapors should have suitable respiratory protection (Fechter 1995; McCullough 2000; OSHA 1998d), with respirator fit testing and training in the proper use and maintenance of the respirator (OSHA 1998d; Sargent and Gallo 2003).
Medical Evaluation and Preventive Medicine for Personnel Development and implementation of a program of medical evaluation and preventive medicine should involve input from trained health professionals, such as occupational health physicians and nurses. Confidentiality and other medical and legal factors must be considered in the context of appropriate federal, state, and local regulations (e.g., PL 104-191).
A preemployment health evaluation and/or a health history evaluation before work assignment is advisable to assess potential risks for individual employees. Periodic medical evaluations are advisable for personnel in specific risk categories. For example, personnel required to use respiratory protection may also require medical evaluation to ensure that they are physically and psychologically able to use the respirator properly (Sargent and Gallo 2003). An appropriate immunization schedule should be adopted. It is important to immunize animal care personnel against tetanus (NRC 1997), and preexposure immunization should be offered to people at risk of infection or exposure to specific agents such as rabies virus (e.g., if working with species at risk for infection) or hepatitis B virus (e.g., if working with human blood or human tissues, cell lines, or stocks). Vaccination is recommended if research is to be conducted on infectious diseases for which effective vaccines are available. More specific recommendations are available in the BMBL (DHHS 2009). Preemployment or preexposure serum collection is advisable only in specific circumstances as determined by an occupational health and safety professional (NRC 1997). In such cases, identification, traceability, retention, and storage conditions of samples should be considered, and the purpose for which the serum samples will be used must be consistent with applicable federal and state laws.
Laboratory animal allergy has become a significant issue for individuals in contact with laboratory animals (Bush and Stave 2003; Gordon 2001; Wolfle and Bush 2001; Wood 2001). The medical surveillance program should promote the early diagnosis of allergies (Bush 2001; Bush and Stave 2003; Seward 2001) and include evaluation of an individual’s medical history for preexisting allergies. Personnel training should include information about laboratory animal allergies, preventive control measures, early recognition and reporting of allergy symptoms, and proper techniques for working with animals (Gordon et at. 1997; Schweitzer et al. 2003; Thulin