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Open Access Exhaust Air Dust Monitoring is Superior to Soiled Bedding Sentinels for the Detection of Pasteurella pneumotropica in Individually Ventilated Cage Systems

Reliable detection of unwanted organisms is essential for meaningful health monitoring in experimental animal facilities. Currently, most rodents are housed in IVC systems, which prevent the aerogenic transmission of pathogens between cages. Typically soiled-bedding sentinels (SBS) exposed to soiled bedding collected from a population of animals within an IVC rack are tested as representatives, but infectious agents often go undetected due to inefficient transmission. Pasteurellaceae are among the most prevalent bacterial pathogens isolated from experimental mice, and the failure of SBS to detect these bacteria is well established. In this study, we investigated whether analysis of exhaust air dust (EAD) samples by using a sensitive and specific real-time PCR assay is superior to conventional SBS monitoring for the detection of Pasteurella pneumotropica (Pp) infections. In a rack with a known prevalence of Pp-positive mice, weekly EAD sampling was compared with the classic SBS method over 3 mo. In 6 rounds of testing, with a prevalence of 5 infected mice in each of 7 cages in a rack of 63 cages, EAD PCR detected Pp at every weekly time point; SBS failed to detect Pp in all cases. The minimal prevalence of Pp-infected mice required to obtain a reliable positive result by EAD PCR testing was determined to be 1 in 63 cages. Reliable detection of Pp was achieved after only 1 wk of exposure. Analysis of EAD samples by real-time PCR assay provides a sensitive, simple, and reliable approach for Pp identification in laboratory mice.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Unit for Comparative Medicine, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany. [email protected] 2: Research Unit for Comparative Medicine, Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg, Germany

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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