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Open Access Influence of Rack Design and Disease Prevalence on Detection of Rodent Pathogens in Exhaust Debris Samples from Individually Ventilated Caging Systems

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Sampling of bedding debris within the exhaust systems of ventilated racks may be a mechanism for detecting murine pathogens in colony animals. This study examined the effectiveness of detecting pathogens by PCR analysis of exhaust debris samples collected from ventilated racks of 2 different rack designs, one with unfiltered air flow from within the cage to the air-exhaust pathway, and the other had a filter between the cage and the air-exhaust pathway. For 12 wk, racks were populated with either 1 or 5 cages of mice (3 mice per cage) infected with one of the following pathogens: mouse norovirus (MNV), mouse parvovirus (MPV), mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), Helicobacter spp., Pasteurella pneumotropica, pinworms, Entamoeba muris, Tritrichomonas muris, and fur mites. Pathogen shedding by infected mice was monitored throughout the study. In the filter-containing rack, PCR testing of exhaust plenums yielded negative results for all pathogens at all time points of the study. In the rack with open air flow, pathogens detected by PCR analysis of exhaust debris included MHV, Helicobacter spp., P. pneumotropica, pinworms, enteric protozoa, and fur mites; these pathogens were detected in racks housing either 1 or 5 cages of infected mice. Neither MPV nor MNV was detected in exhaust debris, even though prolonged viral shedding was confirmed. These results demonstrate that testing rack exhaust debris from racks with unfiltered air flow detected MHV, enteric bacteria and parasites, and fur mites. However, this method failed to reliably detect MNV or MPV infection of colony animals.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: IDEXX BioResearch, Columbia, Missouri, USA. [email protected] 2: IDEXX BioResearch, Columbia, Missouri, USA

Publication date: November 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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