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Care and Use of Animals

Zoonotic Diseases: Guinea Pigs

Cryptosporidia: Cryptosporidium species have a world wide distribution and can be found in many animal species including guinea pigs. Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a protozoan parasite which lives in the intestine of mammals. Cryptosporidiosis is transmitted by the fecal-oral route and can cause diarrhea in humans. Usually the diarrhea is self-limiting but in immunocompromised individuals the disease can have a prolonged course.

Prevention: Appropriate personal-hygiene practices which include washing hands after contact with animals or their waste should prevent spread of this organism

Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus: Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infects wild mice world-wide and laboratory animal species including mice, hamsters and guinea pigs. Humans can be infected by inhalation and by contact with tissues or fluids from infected animals. Symptoms include fever, myalgia, headache and malaise. More severe symptoms can occur such as lymphadeopathy, meningoencephalitis and neurologic signs.

Prevention: Serologic surveillance of animal colonies at risk and screening of all tumors and cell lines intended for animal passage will help to prevent LCM. Personnel should wear gloves when handling animals and practice appropriate personnel hygiene which includes hand washing.


Risk assessment- UC Davis

Occupational Health and Safety in the Care and Use of Research Animals, National Research Council; National Academy Press, 1997.

Center for Disease Control- Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases

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