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Comp Med. 2004 Aug;54(4):382-92.

Efficacy of three microbiological monitoring methods in a ventilated cage rack.

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Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


The use of individually ventilated caging (IVC) to house mice presents new challenges for effective microbiological monitoring. Methods that exploit the characteristics of IVC have been developed, but to the authors' knowledge, their efficacy has not been systematically investigated. Air exhausted from the IVC rack can be monitored, using sentinels housed in cages that receive rack exhaust air as their supply air, or using filters placed on the exhaust air port. To aid laboratory animal personnel in making informed decisions about effective methods for microbiological monitoring of mice in IVC, the efficacy of air monitoring methods was compared with that of contact and soiled bedding sentinel monitoring. Mice were infected with mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), mouse parvovirus (MPV), murine rotavirus (agent of epizootic diarrhea of mice [EDIM]), Sendai virus (SV), or Helicobacter spp. All agents were detected using contact sentinels. Mouse hepatitis virus was effectively detected in air and soiled bedding sentinels, and SV was detected in air sentinels only. Mouse parvovirus and Helicobacter spp. were transmitted in soiled bedding, but the efficacy of transfer was dependent on the frequency and dilution of soiled bedding transferred. Results were similar when the IVC rack was operated under positive or negative air pressure. Filters were more effective at detecting MHV and SV than they were at detecting MPV. Exposure of sentinels or filters to exhaust air was effective at detecting several infectious agents, and use of these methods could increase the efficacy of microbiological monitoring programs, especially if used with soiled bedding sentinels. In contemporary mouse colonies, a multi-faceted approach to microbiological monitoring is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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