The health of laboratory animals is vital to their suitability for research. Therefore, an animal health quality control program is important to any research facility. This 95-page guidebook concentrates on infection surveillance for rodent populations, provides a brief overview of agents to consider as part of a program and offers recommendations for the selection of assays, sample type and number and testing frequency. It also incorporates recent advances that can reduce or eliminate the need to use animals as sentinels. Although we focus on the theory behind creating a modern infection surveillance program, we also briefly discuss the response to microbial outbreaks and a few basic aspects of biosecurity. The recommendations in this document are based on information from current texts, relevant scientific literature and actual experience working with both Charles River rodent production facilities and customer vivaria.

Guidebook Table of Contents

Part I: Developing an Animal Health Quality Control Program

  • Recent Advances Allow Reducing or Replacing Sentinels
  • Infectious Agents to be Included in Health Monitoring Programs
  • Selection of Basic Approaches and Assays for Infectious Surveillance Programs
  • Routine Vivarium Screening: Standard Soiled Bedding Sentinels, Sentinel-Free and Hybrid Approaches
  • Sample Collection and Shipping Considerations
  • Testing Frequency

Part II: What to do if your facility experiences an outbreak with an agent of concern

  • Understanding the Outbreak
  • Corroborating Positive Results
  • Infection Control
  • Investigation of Potential Sources of the Outbreak
  • Risk Reduction Considerations

Part III: Basic Biosecurity Considerations

  • A Comprehensive 360 Approach to Biosecurity: Prevention, Identification, Resolution, and Critical Control Points