Working with Nonhuman Primates

Working with Nonhuman Primates

 

Employees working directly with or in the same rooms as nonhuman primates (NHP)

are required to be enrolled in the Animal Exposure Surveillance Program (AESP) for

NHP.  It is important to recognize the risks that are present in such a work

environment…risks to the humans…and risks to the nonhuman primates.  For this

reason, all protective safety/health measures must be seriously adhered to.

Employee protection in the nonhuman primate environment includes the use of

protective, and in some cases, waterproof clothing.  Shoe covers prevent transfer of

pathologic organisms.  Clothing and shoe covers are specific to the animal spaces but

should be removed when outside of those areas.  Combinations of goggles/masks

and/or face shields protect the eyes, nose and mouth from splashes (see attached

chart).  Gloves are worn to protect contamination of the skin.  In the circumstances

when awake nonhuman primates will be handled, thick leather gloves specially

designed for protecting against bites and scratches should be worn.  Proper hand

washing should be performed before and after wearing the protective clothes.

Bites, scratches, and splashes of blood and body fluids from nonhuman primates pose

numerous problems.  Bacterial infections are the most frequent complication of a

nonhuman primate bite.

Cercopithecine Herpesvirus-1 or B Virus is a member of the herpes family occurring

naturally in Macaque and possibly other old world monkeys.  Most have no evidence of

infection or others may have small blisters or ulcerations in the mouth, face, lips,

genitalia, and/or eye.  Transmission to humans occurs by exposure to contaminated

monkey saliva, secretions, or tissues.  The most likely route is bites, scratches or

splashes.  The B Virus has never been cultured in blood.

Injuries involving contact with nonhuman primate blood are potentially hazardous.  At

the time of enrollment, each AESP participant must provide 7-10 ml of blood to be

stored for future reference.

Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV) commonly persists without clinical manifestations

in nonhuman primates.

Type D Retroviruses (Simian retroviruses [SRV]) may infect some nonhuman primates.

However, there is no current evidence of humans being infected with the type D

retroviruses.

First aid for injuries related to exposure to nonhuman primates or their tissues is always

handled as an emergency.  First aid should be performed before seeking medical care

unless the injury is severe.  See paragraphs below.  Occupational & Environmental

Medicine (OEM) at the BUMC is located in the Yawkey, ACC, 1st floor and OEM

should be contacted immediately at (617) 638-8400.  Hours are Monday through Friday

from 7:30 am. – 4:00 pm.  On the Charles River Campus, contact and report to BU

Occupational Health Center (BUOHC), 930 Commonwealth Ave., West, Pleasant Street

entrance. Tel:  (617) 353-6630.  On weekends, evenings, and holidays, report to the

BMC Emergency Department located at 771 Albany Street, Menino Pavilion.

For bites, scratches and lacerations:  Cleanse the wound immediately with a Betadine

sponge scrub for 15 minutes.  Rinse thoroughly.  Notify the employee’s supervisor and

the veterinarian responsible for the animal.  Report to OEM, BUOHC or the BMC

Emergency Department as soon as possible.

For a splash of potentially contaminated fluid to the nose, mouth, or eyes:  Flush the site

for 15 minutes with water or saline solution.  Notify the employee’s supervisor and the

veterinarian responsible for the animal.  Report to OEM, BUOHC or the BMC

Emergency Department as soon as possible.

Illness:  Many agents responsible for infections in laboratory animals are capable of

infecting humans.  Employees should report any gastrointestinal, respiratory, or skin

related illnesses with signs or symptoms resembling those occurring in the animals for

which they care.

As part of the AESP specific to nonhuman primates, it is important to also recognize the

risks humans pose to the animals.

Tuberculosis is a zoonotic disease, which is difficult to detect in nonhuman primates and

spreads rapidly in colonies.  Because there is no effective treatment for this disease in

nonhuman primates, infected animals are euthanized.  Due to the devastating

consequences of TB on the nonhuman primates and associated research projects,

special precautions are taken to reduce the risk that workers will infect the animals.

Each employee is screened prior to having animal contact.  Unless there is a history of

a positive PPD skin test, employees will be required to undergo a TB skin test every 6

months.  Employees with a history of a positive PPD will require a radiograph

subsequent to their positive test and an evaluation by a TB specialist or TB clinic.

Rubeola (measles) is one of the most frequently reported viral diseases of nonhuman

primates.  All employees working in rooms containing nonhuman primates must have

laboratory evidence of immunity to rubeola including those those born prior to 1957.

Evidence of 2 doses of Measles Mumps and Rubella vaccine is also acceptable.

For additional information concerning your enrollment in AESP for nonhuman primates,

contact BU Occupational Health Center (BUOHC) at (617) 353-6630 or OEM at BUMC

at (617) 638-8400.

Description of Common Non-Human Primate Procedures at BUMC and Required Eye/Face Personal

Protective Equipment

Procedure Eye/Face/Mucous Membrane

Protection Alternative, if available

NHP Cage Changing goggles and surgical mask safety glasses, face shield and

surgical mask

NHP dental cleaning goggles and surgical mask n/a

NHP Live Animal

Transport or Removal

to Transport Cage goggles and surgical mask

safety glasses, face shield and

surgical mask

Anesthetized NHP

Animal transport goggles and surgical mask safety glasses, face shield and surgical mask

NHP Surgery on

Anesthetized Animal

using Surgical

Microscope

Safety Glasses (prescription if

needed) with Surgical Loupes,

Surgical Mask for Lead Surgeon,  All

surgical assistants in room should

wear goggles and surgical mask

Lead surgeon currently wearing

prescription eyeglasses with side

shields and surgical loupes over the

glasses with a surgical mask.

Alternatively, surgical assistants can

wear safety glasses, face shield, and

surgical mask

NHP Surgery on

Anesthetized Animal

using Surgical Loupes

Safety Glasses (prescription if

needed) with Surgical Loupes,

Surgical Mask for Lead Surgeon,  All

surgical assistants in room should

wear goggles and surgical mask

Lead surgeon currently wearing

prescription eyeglasses with side

shields and surgical loupes over the

glasses with a surgical mask.

Alternatively, surgical assistants can

wear safety glasses, face shield, and

surgical mask

Tracheal Tube

Insertion and Removal

during the beginning

and end of NHP

Surgery

goggles and surgical mask safety glasses (prescription if needed),

face shield and surgical mask

Perfusion of NHP at

Termination Surgery

Completed in Fume Hood by Lead

Surgeon:  Involves slicing of heart

ventricles, NHP anesthetized

Completed in Fume Hood by Lead

Surgeon:  Currently wears

prescription eyeglasses and surgical

loupes and surgical mask

Magnetic Resonance

Imaging of NHP

Anesthetized Animal

Anesthetized animals in sealed

microisolator cage, safety glasses and

surgical mask should be worn n/a