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Dev Biol Stand. 1978;41:85-91.

Tuberculosis in nonhuman primates as a threat to humans.


Nonhuman primates are used in many laboratories either as modest systems for studies of disease processes or as a source of these tissues for cell culture and vaccine production. Much too frequently, the health of these donor animals is taken for granted, although T.B. testing is one of the few procedures routinely performed. In spite of this screening, outbreaks of T.B. among various simian species are still sufficiently commonplace to make maintenance and use of these animals a continuing source of danger to the human population. Development of rampant fatal tuberculosis in established colony animals (chimpanzees, baboons, others) previously tested as tuberculin negative suggests the need for continuing monitoring as well as extreme caution in handling of these animals, especially at necropsy. Further, use of complete Freund's adjuvant or isoniazid either experimentally or therapeutically will obscure the interpretation of the skin test. Present lack of concern by many investigators for biohazards associated with use of nonhuman primates makes the problem of laboratory-associated infections a major source of concern. Positive conversion of animal handlers has occurred a sufficient number of times to make development of tuberculosis in a colony of animals a matter of more than academic interest.

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