The use of individually ventilated caging (IVC) to house mice presents new challenges for effective microbiological monitoring. Methods that exploit the characteristics of IVC have been developed, but to the authors' knowledge, their efficacy has not been systematically investigated. Air exhausted from the IVC rack can be monitored, using sentinels housed in cages that receive rack exhaust air as their supply air, or using filters placed on the exhaust air port. To aid laboratory animal personnel in making informed decisions about effective methods for microbiological monitoring of mice in IVC, the efficacy of air monitoring methods was compared with that of contact and soiled bedding sentinel monitoring. Mice were infected with mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), mouse parvovirus (MPV), murine rotavirus (agent of epizootic diarrhea of mice [EDIM]), Sendai virus (SV), or Helicobacter spp. All agents were detected using contact sentinels. Mouse hepatitis virus was effectively detected in air and soiled bedding sentinels, and SV was detected in air sentinels only. Mouse parvovirus and Helicobacter spp. were transmitted in soiled bedding, but the efficacy of transfer was dependent on the frequency and dilution of soiled bedding transferred. Results were similar when the IVC rack was operated under positive or negative air pressure. Filters were more effective at detecting MHV and SV than they were at detecting MPV. Exposure of sentinels or filters to exhaust air was effective at detecting several infectious agents, and use of these methods could increase the efficacy of microbiological monitoring programs, especially if used with soiled bedding sentinels. In contemporary mouse colonies, a multi-faceted approach to microbiological monitoring is recommended.
Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 2:
Research Animal Resources Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 3:
BioZone Inc., Fort Mill, South Carolina
Publication date: August 1, 2004
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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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