7.3.4 Animal Facilities (in addition to those listed for ABSL1 and 2)

  • The animal facility is separated from areas that are open to unrestricted personnel traffic within the building.  External facility doors are self-closing and self-locking.  
  • Access to the animal facility is restricted.  Doors to areas where infectious materials and/or animals are housed open inward, are self-closing, are kept closed when experimental animals are present, and should never be propped open.  Doors to cubicles inside an animal room may open outward or slide horizontally or vertically.
  • Entry into the containment area is via a double-door entry which constitutes an anteroom/airlock and a change room.  Showers may be considered based on risk assessment.  An additional double-door access anteroom or double-doored autoclave may be provided for movement of supplies and wastes into and out of the facility.
  • A hand washing sink is located at the exit of the areas where infectious materials and/or animals are housed or are manipulated.  Additional sinks for hand washing should be located in other appropriate locations within the facility.  The sink should be hands-free or automatically operated.  If the animal facility has multiple segregated areas where infectious materials and/or animals are housed or are manipulated, a sink must also be available for hand washing at the exit from each segregated area.
  • Sink traps are filled with water, and/or appropriate liquid to prevent the migration of vermin and gases. 
  • The animal facility is designed, constructed, and maintained to facilitate cleaning, decontamination and housekeeping.  The interior surfaces (walls, floors, and ceilings) are water resistant.  Penetrations in floors, walls and ceiling surfaces are sealed, to included openings around ducts, doors and door frames, to facilitate pest control, proper cleaning, and decontamination.  Walls, floors and ceilings should form a sealed and sanitizable surface.
  • Floors must be slip resistant, impervious to liquids, and resistant to chemicals.  Flooring is seamless, sealed resilient or poured floors with integral cove bases.
  • Decontamination of an entire animal room should be considered when there has been gross contamination of the space, significant changes in usage, for major renovations, or maintenance shut downs.  Selection of the appropriate materials and methods used to decontaminate the animal room must be based on the risk assessment.
  • External windows are not recommended; if present, windows must be sealed and must be resistant to breakage.  The presence of windows may impact facility security and therefore should be assessed by security personnel.
  • Ventilation should be provided in accordance with the Guide for Care and Use of Laboratory Animals contact Office of Animal Resources for more information.  The direction of airflow into the animal facility is inward; animal rooms should maintain inward directional airflow compared to adjoining hallways.  A ducted exhaust air ventilation system is provided.  Exhaust air is discharged to the outside without being recirculated to other rooms.  This system creates directional airflow which draws air into the animal room from “clean” areas and toward “contaminated” areas.
  • Ventilation system design should consider the heat and high moisture load produced during the cleaning of animal rooms and the cage wash process.  Filtration and other treatments of the exhaust air may not be required, but should be considered based on site requirements, specific agent manipulations and use conditions.  The exhaust must be dispersed away from occupied areas and air intakes, or the exhaust must be HEPA-filtered.
  • Personnel must verify that the direction of the airflow (into the animal areas) is proper.  It is recommended that a visual monitoring device that indicates and confirms directional inward airflow be provided at the animal room entry.  Consideration should be given to installing an HVAC control system to prevent sustained positive pressurization of the animal spaces.  Audible alarms should be considered to notify personnel of ventilation and HVAC system failure.
  • Floor drains must be maintained and filled with water, and/or appropriate disinfectant to prevent the migration of vermin and gases.
  • Cages are washed in a mechanical cage washer.  The mechanical cage washer has a final rinse temperature of at least 180oF.  Cages should be autoclaved or otherwise decontaminated prior to removal from ABSL-3 space.  The cage wash facility should be designed and constructed to accommodate high pressure spray systems, humidity, strong chemical disinfectants and 180oF water temperatures, during the cage/equipment cleaning process. 
  • BSCs (Class II, Class III) must be installed so that fluctuations of the room air supply and exhaust do not interfere with its proper operations.  Class II BSCs should be located away from doors, heavily traveled laboratory areas, and other possible airflow disruptions.  HEPA filtered exhaust air from a Class II BSC can be safely re-circulated back into the laboratory environment if the cabinet is tested and certified at least annually and operated according to manufacturer’s recommendations.  BSCs can also be connected to the laboratory exhaust system by either a thimble (canopy) connection or a direct (hard) connection.  Provisions to assure proper safety cabinet performance and air system operation must be verified.  BSCs should be recertified at least annually to assure correct performance.  Class III BSCs must supply air in such a manner that prevents positive pressurization of the cabinet or the laboratory room.
  • All BSCs should be used according to manufacturer’s recommendations.  When applicable, equipment that may produce infectious aerosols must be contained in devices that exhaust air through HEPA filtration or other equivalent technology before being discharged into the animal facility.  These HEPA filters should be tested and/or replaced at least annually.
  • An autoclave is available which is convenient to the animal rooms where the biohazard is contained.  The autoclave is utilized to decontaminate infectious materials and waste before moving it to the outer areas of the facility.  If not convenient to areas where infectious materials and/or animals are housed or are manipulated, special practices should be developed for transport of infectious materials designated alternate location(s) within the facility.
  • The ABSL 3 facility design and operational procedures must be documented.  The facility must be tested to verify that the design and operational parameters have been met prior to use.  Facilities should be re-verified at least annually against these procedures as modified by operational experience.
  • Additional environmental protection (e.g., personnel showers, HEPA filtration of exhaust air, containment of other piped services, and the provision or effluent decontamination) should be considered if recommended by the agent summary statement, as determined by risk assessment of the site conditions, or other applicable federal, state or local regulations.