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Open Access PCR Testing of a Ventilated Caging System to Detect Murine Fur Mites

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Rodents housed in microisolation caging are commonly monitored for infectious agents by the use of soiled bedding sentinels. This strategy relies on the successful transmission of rodent pathogens from the index rodents via soiled bedding to sentinel cages and the subsequent infection or colonization of sentinel rodents. When the prevalence of a pathogen is low or the target agent is not readily transmitted by soiled bedding, alternative testing methodologies should be used. Given the continued prevalence of institutions self-reporting murine fur mites and with the advent of a new sensitive and specific PCR assay for mites, we sought to determine whether the exhaust system of an individual ventilated caging (IVC) system could be used for monitoring the rack's rodent population for mites rather than relying on the responses of sentinels. We deployed single cages of mice (Mus musculus) that were known to be infested with either Radfordia affinis or Myobia musculi on a 70-cage rack, sampled the horizontal exhaust manifolds weekly, and used the new PCR assay to test these samples for mite DNA. We detected the presence of fur mites at a 94.1% probability of detection within 4 wk of placement. Therefore, we recommend swabbing and testing the shelf exhaust manifolds of IVC racks rather than relying on soiled-bedding sentinels as an indicator of the mite status of the rodents on that rack.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biomedical Resource Center, Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. [email protected] 2: Biomedical Resource Center, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA 3: Research Animal Diagnostic Services, Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, Massachusetts, USA 4: Division of Biostatistics, Institute for Health and Society, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA 5: Biomedical Resource Center, Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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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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