Open Access Management of a Measles Outbreak Among Old World Nonhuman Primates

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Background and Purpose: A measles outbreak in a facility housing Old World nonhuman primates developed over a 2-month period in 1996, providing an opportunity to study the epidemiology of this highly infectious disease in an animal-handling setting.

Methods: Serum and urine specimens were collected from monkeys housed in the room where the initial measles cases were identified, other monkeys with suspicious measles-like signs, and employees working in the affected areas. Serum specimens were tested for measles virus-specific IgG and IgM antibodies, and urine specimens were tested for measles virus by virus isolation or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

Results: A total of 94 monkeys in two separate facilities had evidence of an acute measles infection. The outbreak was caused by a wild-type virus that had been associated with recent human cases of acute measles in the United States; however, an investigation was unable to identify the original source of the outbreak. Quarantine and massive vaccination helped to control further spread of infection.

Conclusions: Results emphasize the value of having a measles control plan in place that includes a preventive measles vaccination program involving human and nonhuman primates to decrease the likelihood of a facility outbreak.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Hospital Epidemiology Service, Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Room 15B-18, MSP HFD-738, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857 2: Veterinary Resources Program, Bethesda, Maryland, Advanced BioScience Laboratories, Inc., Rockville, Maryland 3: Veterinary Resources Program, Bethesda, Maryland

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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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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