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Open Access Suboptimal Ability of Dirty-bedding Sentinels to Detect Spironucleus muris in a Colony of Mice with Genetic Manipulations of the Adaptive Immune System

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Spironucleus muris is an unacceptable infectious agent for most rodent colonies. Exposure of sentinel mice to dirty bedding and examination of sentinel intestinal smears was not sufficient for identification of the extent of spironucleosis within 1 mouse room. Clinical abnormalities were not reported in the animals housed in the room despite extensive breeding and a preponderance of mice genetically engineered to have nonfunctional T and B cells. In addition, researchers reported that the infection had not altered their research data. During investigation of the outbreak, direct intestinal smears performed on related animals (conspecifics, offspring, or siblings) revealed that immunodeficient mice often tested negative whereas the immunocompetent cohort tested positive. In this study, we used culled colony animals and compared direct intestinal exam test results with histologic results. The comparison showed the extent of false negatives that may occur when direct intestinal exam alone is used to detect this protozoon. Sensitivity of the direct intestinal exam for detection of S. muris was calculated to be 71%, while histology sensitivity was 91%. In light of the study results and an extensive literature review, we revised our health surveillance plan so that the age and duration of exposure to dirty bedding among sentinel mice is varied at the time of testing.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (JAALAS) serves as an official communication vehicle for the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The journal includes a section of refereed articles and a section of AALAS association news. The mission of the refereed section of the journal is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information on animal biology, technology, facility operations, management, and compliance as relevant to the AALAS membership. JAALAS accepts research reports (data-based) or scholarly reports (literature-based), with the caveat that all articles, including solicited manuscripts, must include appropriate references and must undergo peer review.

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