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Open Access Rodent Quarantine Programs: Purpose, Principles, and Practice

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In animal research, validity and reproducibility of data are critically influenced by the microbial status of the experimental animals. One of the most crucial aspects of assuring quality in animal research is providing research personnel with confidence that experimental results will not be invalidated due to interference caused by infectious disease. An effective quarantine program is essential to providing this assurance. Quarantine programs are generally instituted to prevent the introduction of rodent pathogens into established specific-pathogen-free colonies in a facility. Therefore, programs should be designed to isolate newly acquired rodents until their health status can be determined and to maximize the probability that microorganisms of interest will be detected before the animals are introduced into (and thus, could potentially contaminate) established colonies. Important principles that are critical to designing an effective quarantine program will be discussed here, as will the practical implementation of these principles. Although quarantine programs may be costly in terms of time and effort, these costs must be balanced against the potential costs of disease outbreaks that could invalidate long-term studies, alter normal biological baselines, and cause the loss or necessitate re-derivation of rare or valuable strains of rodents. Reducing the incidence of quarantine failures through appropriate program design and implementation helps to maintain the confidence of research personnel in the value of quarantine programs and in our competence as specialists in laboratory animal management and as partners in the research process.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Infectious Diseases, Comparative Medicine Division, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee

Publication date: 1998-10-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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