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Care and Use of Animals

Zoonotic Diseases: Rabbits

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

Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is widely distributed in domestic and wild animals. The possibility of transmission to humans from most animal species maintained in the laboratory should be considered but livestock and dogs would be the most common reservoirs. Transmission of the organism to humans can occur through skin abrasions and mucous membranes by contact with urine or tissues of animals infected with Leptospirosis. Inhalation or ingestion of organisms can also transmit the diseases. Disease can vary from asymptomatic infection to severe disease ranging from flu-like symptoms to liver and kidney failure, encephalitis, and pulmonary involvement.

Prevention: Control of this infection in laboratory animal populations along with use of protective clothing and gloves by persons working with and caring for infected animals will help prevent disease.

Ringworm: Dermatophytes, which are fungi, cause ringworm in humans and animals. Infection in animals may be inapparent and is transmitted to humans by direct contact with infected animals or by indirect contact with contaminated equipment or materials. Dermatophytes produce flat, circular lesions that are clear in the center and crusted and red on the periphery.

Prevention: The use of protective clothing, disposable gloves, and hand washing along with good personal hygiene will help to reduce the spread of dermatophytosis in a laboratory animal facility.


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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