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Open Access Surveillance of a Ventilated Rack System for Corynebacterium bovis by Sampling Exhaust-Air Manifolds

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Corynebacterium bovis causes an opportunistic infection of nude (Foxn1, nu/nu) mice, leading to nude mouse hyperkeratotic dermatitis (scaly skin disease). Enzootic in many nude mouse colonies, C. bovis spreads rapidly to naive nude mice, despite modern husbandry practices, and is very difficult to eradicate. To facilitate rapid detection in support of eradication efforts, we investigated a surveillance method based on quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) evaluation of swabs collected from the horizontal exhaust manifold (HEM) of an IVC rack system. We first evaluated the efficacy of rack sanitation methods for removing C. bovis DNA from the HEM of racks housing endemic colonies of infected nude mice. Pressurized water used to flush the racks' air exhaust system followed by a standard rack-washer cycle was ineffective in eliminating C. bovis DNA. Only after autoclaving did all sanitized racks test negative for C. bovis DNA. We then measured the effects of stage of infection (early or established), cage density, and cage location on the rack on time-to-detection at the HEM. Stage of infection significantly affected time-to-detection, independent of cage location. Early infections required 7.3 ± 1.2 d whereas established infections required 1 ± 0 d for detection of C. bovis at the HEM. Cage density influenced the quantity of C. bovis DNA detected but not time-to-detection. The location of the cage on the rack affected the time-to-detection only during early C. bovis infections. We suggest that qPCR swabs of HEM are useful during the routine surveillance of nude mouse colonies for C. bovis infection.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Office of Laboratory Animal Resources, Department of Pathology, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO 2: Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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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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