Health Surveillance

Health Surveillance

The health surveillance program is provided to ensure that UAB's research animals are free of microorganisms and parasites having the potential to cause illness or otherwise interfere with research results. Its goal is to help prevent unnecessary pain, distress, morbidity, and mortality; loss or confounding of research data due to microorganisms and parasites; and risks of zoonotic diseases. The health surveillance program is directed and organized by Dr. Susan Farmer and Mr. Darren Duvall. Much thought and effort were invested in designing the program to be as efficient and cost effective as possible.

Rodent level 1
Level 1 testing is used to monitor established populations on campus. A "dirty bedding" sentinel system is used, supplemented by direct testing of colonies where appropriate. Level 1 testing is done quarterly (every three months).  In the first and third quarters of the year, sentinels are tested by serology. In the second and fourth quarters, sentinels are tested by serology and examination of skin and gastrointestinal tract for parasites. Serologic testing is done by a commercial laboratory using Multiplexed Fluorometric ImmunoAssay®, with confirmatory testing by ELISA, IFA, HAI, or immunoblotting where indicated.

The mouse serologic panel includes mouse parvovirus 1 (MPV-1), mouse parvovirus 2 (MPV-2), minute virus of mice (MVM), parvovirus nonstructural protein 1 (NS-1), mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), murine norovirus (MNV), Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV), epizootic diarrhea of infant mice (EDIM) rotavirus, Sendai virus (SEND), pneumonia virus of mice (PVM), reovirus (REO), Mycoplasma pulmonis (MPUL), lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), mouse adenovirus (MAV), ectromelia (mousepox) virus (ECTRO), K virus (K), and polyoma virus (POLY).

The rat serologic panel includes rat parvovirus (RPV), Toolan H-1 virus (H-1), Kilham rat virus (KRV), rat minute virus (RMV), parvovirus nonstructural protein 1 (NS-1), sialodacryoadenitis virus (SDAV), rat Theiler's-like virus (RTV), Sendai virus, PVM, reovirus, M. pulmonis, LCMV, MAV, and TMEV.

Rodent colonies also are tested once yearly by PCR for Helicobacter spp. unless known to be positive.

Rodent level 3
Level 3 testing is applied to animals in quarantine. Serologic panels are as described above, although serologic tests for other agents may be added where indicated. Kidney, spleen, pancreas, liver, trachea, thymus, reproductive organs, lungs, eyes, middle ear, nasal passages, cecum, stomach, small and large intestines, and skin are examined histopathologically; skin and gastrointestinal tract are examined for parasites; the intestine, liver, and nasal passages are cultured for bacterial pathogens; and samples of large intestine are tested by PCR for Helicobacter spp.
Other species
For information about health programs for other species, contact Dr. Susan Farmer or Mr. Darren Duvall.