University of Iowa

Animal Housing Containment Guidelines

Four protocols have been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for use of biological hazards (including recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules) in animals. The Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) determines which animal biosafety level must be used, primarily based on the agents used in an approved rDNA Registration Document (rDNARD). Special protocols have been developed for Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL1), Animal Biosafety Level 2a (ABSL2a) and Animal Biosafety Level 2c (ABSL2c) for small animals or Animal Biosafety Level 2n (ABSL2n) for large animals. Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL3) is described within the Biosafety Level 3 Core Facility manuals.

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This protocol has been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for use of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules or recombinant organisms in animals, when assigned to Animal Biosafety Level 1 (ABSL1) by the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC).

Research Staff and OAR Personnel

  1. Exposed animals transported between the Animal Care facilities and investigator laboratories must be transported securely in their cage and on a cart, or within an approved animal transport, with a cover over the cage or transport.
    1. Barrier housed animals cannot leave the OAR housing facility. Following prior approval by OAR veterinary staff, a procedure room within the barrier facility may be used.
  2. Animal carcasses/tissues must be double-bagged in plastic biohazard bags and staged for disposal by placing the bag(s) in red biowaste tubs located within the walk-in coolers, refrigerators, or freezers of each animal facility.

General Policies

  1. Access is limited to necessary personnel.
  2. Eating, drinking, smoking, and storing of food for human use are not permitted in the animal room.
  3. Personnel must always wear gloves and appropriate PPE (e.g. disposable lab coat in OAR facilities, lab coat in external laboratories) when handling animals, cages or administering agents. PPE used should be discarded in biohazard containers located in procedure rooms prior to exiting the facility.
  4. Personnel must wash their hands before leaving the room or animal facility.

Use of Agent

  1. Reconstitution/dilution of the agent will NOT be permitted in OAR facilities.
  2. All contaminated materials used by the investigator (needles, syringes, vials, gloves, etc.) must be properly disposed of in the appropriate biohazard containers, i.e., needles, syringes and vials placed in a sharps container, and gloves, etc. placed in the biohazard box/container. Biohazard containers are located in procedure rooms.

Cage handling

Upon initial animal inoculation, the PI will label cages with the grey “ABSL-1 rDNA or synthetic nucleic acid” card which may be obtained from OAR staff. Cage card includes the statement: “Waste in this cage must be disposed of in a RED BIOHAZARD BAG. Waste must not be landfilled.”

  1. Animal Cage labels must include:
    1. Agent(s) in use
    2. Contact name
    3. Contact phone number
  2. Waste from cages labeled with a grey card must be placed in a RED BIOHAZARD BAG.
  3. If research staff wish to change the cage prior to the regular husbandry schedule, s/he may do so with the following precautions:
    1. To ensure proper waste disposal, a half-sized grey card must be placed face up in the dirty (empty) cage to inform the cage wash caretaker of possible contamination of ABSL-1 rDNA or synthetic nucleic acids in the bedding.
    2. Filter tops will be placed on the cage prior to putting them with other dirty caging intended for cage washing.

OAR Personnel

Infected Animal Disposal

  1. If a deceased animal is found, OAR personnel will bag the carcass in a biohazard-labeled bag, place it in the cooler, and submit a dead in pen (DIP) slip for the animal. The PI and any staff with system access will receive an email from the OAR office or vet staff notifying them of the death.
  2. Carcasses are placed in a DIP bin in the cooler; bins are labeled with the day of the week that corresponds to the date on the automated email that PIs and staff receive once the DIP slip is processed. Carcasses are saved for at least 3 days’ post-death, longer over holidays.

This protocol has been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for use of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules and/or biological organisms in rodents, when assigned to Animal Biosafety Level 2c (ABSL2c).

Research Staff and OAR Personnel

  1. In advance of administration of any agents covered under this protocol, contact the facility supervisor to arrange for appropriate housing of the animals after exposure.
  2. Animals that will not be exposed to the agent should not be housed in OAR’s animal biocontainment room.
  3. Transporting live animals outside of the biocontainment room should not be done unless approved by an OAR/IACUC veterinarian through the animal protocol review process. The following procedure must be used when transporting animals outside of the ABSL2c room:
    1. Retrieving animals from the OAR biocontainment housing room:
      1. Animals are placed in clean cage(s) including clean caging components and feed. Dirty caging is left in the room with filter top in place for routine husbandry sanitation.
      2. Filter tops must be secured to the cage (ex: binder clips, tape). 
      3. Cages are wrapped completely in a disposable drape (available through OAR); drape needs to be secured around the cage with tape.
      4. Cages are transported on a cart; the cart should NOT be brought into the ABSL2c room when retrieving the animals.
    2. Moving animals to the OAR biocontainment housing room:
      1. If animals were anesthetized, they should be monitored and not transported until they have recovered.
      2. Filter tops are secured (ex: binder clips, tape) and cages are wrapped completely in a disposable drape & secured with tape.
      3. Cages are transported to the OAR ABSL2c housing room on a cart; the cart should NOT be brought into the ABSL2c room.
      4. Cages are placed on the ventilated rack.
  4. If appropriate, animals may leave the biocontainment housing room and be returned to their original housing room after meeting two conditions:
    1. It has been at least 5 days since the last exposure and
    2. There has been at least one cage change. 
      [Animals brought to a research laboratory may not be returned to barrier housing and alternate housing must be arranged with an OAR veterinarian.]
  5. Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn when handling animals, cages or injecting agents. Required PPE is prominently posted on the entry doors to all animal biocontainment housing rooms.
  6. Soiled cages, with filter tops in place, must be returned to the biocontainment room, where all bedding and waste from animals exposed to recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules/infectious agents will be managed by OAR husbandry personnel.
  7. Cages, including bedding, food, feeders and filter top are placed in autoclavable bags and are autoclaved by OAR personnel prior to cage manipulation and washing.
  8. Animal carcasses/tissues must be double-bagged in plastic biohazard bags and staged for disposal by placing the bag(s) in red biowaste tubs located within the walk-in coolers, refrigerators, or freezers of each animal facility.

General Policies

  1. Access is limited to necessary personnel.
  2. Eating, drinking, smoking, and storing of food for human use are not permitted in any animal room.
  3. Personal protective equipment is available and must be worn by all personnel entering the biocontainment room. Remove PPE before leaving the animal room, discarding the PPE in the biohazard container in the room.
  4. Personnel must wash their hands before leaving the room or animal facility.
  5. A biohazard sign that includes the universal biohazard symbol, the biohazard agent/s presently in use in the room, and name and telephone number of the primary investigator/lab contact must be posted on the door.
  6. Cages must also bear the universal biohazard label, the biohazard agent being used and the expiration date, if applicable.
  7. In the event an incident occurs that may result in an exposure to recombinant or /synthetic nucleic acid molecules/infectious materials (including animal bites), immediately notify your supervisor and EHS’s Biosafety Officer (353-5679).

Use of Agent

  1. The agent should be manipulated within a biological safety cabinet, whenever possible. Guidelines for BSC use are available through the EHS website.
  2. Work surfaces must be decontaminated after use and in the event of a spill. Research staff must ensure disinfectant is effective against the agent in use; OAR currently provides Spor-Klenz within the facility.
  3. Procedures must be performed to minimize creation of aerosols. Only needle-locking syringes or disposable syringe units (i.e., the needle is integral to the syringe) may be used for the injection or aspiration of infectious fluids. Following the procedure, the needle and syringe should be promptly placed in a puncture-resistant sharps container. Recapping needles is strongly discouraged; if you need to recap needles, you must follow EHS guidelines for this procedure.
  4. All contaminated materials used by the investigator (needles, syringes, vials, gloves, etc.) must be properly disposed of in the appropriate biohazard containers, i.e., needles, syringes and vials placed in a sharps container, and gloves, etc. placed in the biohazard box/container. Biohazard containers are located in the animal rooms.

WHEN APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY AN OAR/IACUC VETERINARIAN: 
Use of Core Facilities with infected animals prior to the 5-day shedding period

  1. Whenever possible, animals are manipulated on the cart used to transport the animals to the facility (rather than “contaminating” table top surfaces or absorbable ‘chucks’ in the room).
  2. If necessary, dedicated ‘nose cones’ are used to administer gas anesthetic to maintain anesthetic level of the animal.
  3. When possible, anesthetized animals are placed on a single use disposable sheet on shared equipment (a black sheet is used for the IVIS).
  4. When the procedure/imaging is completed, animals are placed back into their cage and the filter top put back into place.
  5. The disposable sheet is sprayed down (until wet) with an appropriate disinfectant and placed in the biohazard waste receptacle in the facility.
  6. The equipment is disinfected with an appropriate disinfectant (includes inside of machines as well as the outside and handles/knobs).
  7. Nose cones, if used, are disinfected by soaking them in a closed container with appropriate disinfectant and stored in the investigator’s lab, not the core facility.
  8. All working surfaces in the room (e.g. table tops, plastic cover on computer keyboards, etc.) are disinfected with an appropriate disinfectant. If any absorbable ‘chuck(s)’ on table top surfaces are used or contaminated they will be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant, disposed of in the biohazard waste receptacle, and replaced with a clean ‘chuck’.

Cage handling

  1. Infectious rodents will be housed in a Thoren unit or on a shelving rack with filter-top caging.
  2. Laboratory staff must not change caging (includes food, cage, feeder top, filter top, & cage card holder) until 5 days after last exposure. Dirty caging must be left in the designated ABSL2c room for disinfection and sanitation by OAR staff.
  3. OAR staff will place dirty caging in autoclave bags for autoclaving prior to washing and reuse.
  4. All animals and caging must be handled within a certified biosafety cabinet. Exceptions and/or deviations from utilizing a biosafety cabinet for manipulations in the lab or core service (ex: imaging) should be described in the deviations sections of your hazard containment form associated with you animal protocol.

OAR Personnel

Infected Animal Disposal

  1. If a deceased animal is found, OAR personnel will double bag the carcass in a biohazard-labeled bag, place it in the cooler, and submit a dead in pen (DIP) slip for the animal. The PI and any staff with system access will receive an email from the OAR office or vet staff notifying them of the death.
  2. Carcasses are placed in a DIP bin in the cooler; bins are labeled with the day of the week that corresponds to the date on the automated email that PIs and staff receive once the DIP slip is processed. Carcasses are saved for at least 3 days’ post-death, longer over holiday.

This protocol has been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for use of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules and/or biological organisms in rodents, when assigned to Animal Biosafety Level 2a (ABSL2a).

Research Staff and OAR Personnel

  1. In advance of administration of any agents covered under this protocol, contact the facility supervisor to arrange for appropriate housing of the animals after exposure.
  2. Animals that will not be exposed to the agent (e.g., control animals) should not be housed in OAR’s animal biocontainment room.
  3. Transporting live animals outside of the biocontainment room should not be done unless approved by an OAR/IACUC veterinarian through the animal protocol review process. The following procedure must be used when transporting animals outside of the ABSL2a room:
    1. Retrieving animals from the OAR biocontainment housing room:
      1. Animals are placed in clean cage(s) including clean caging components and feed. Dirty caging is left in the room with filter top in place for routine husbandry sanitation.
      2. Filter tops must be secured to the cage (ex: binder clips, tape). 
      3. Cages are wrapped completely in a disposable drape (available through OAR); drape needs to be secured around the cage with tape.
      4. Cages are transported on a cart; the cart should NOT be brought into the ABSL2a room when retrieving the animals.
    2. Moving animals to the OAR biocontainment housing room:
      1. If animals were anesthetized, they should be monitored and not transported until they have recovered.
      2. Filter tops are secured (ex: binder clips, tape) and cages are wrapped completely in a disposable drape & secured with tape.
      3. Cages are transported to the OAR ABSL2a housing room on a cart; the cart should NOT be brought into the ABSL2a room.
      4. Cages are placed on the ventilated rack.
  4. Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn when handling animals, cages or injecting agents. Required PPE is prominently posted on the entry doors to all animal biocontainment housing rooms.
  5. Soiled cages, with filter tops in place, must be returned to the biocontainment room, where all bedding and waste from animals exposed to recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules/infectious agents will be managed by OAR husbandry personnel.
  6. Cages, including bedding, food, feeder and filter top are autoclaved by OAR personnel prior to cage manipulation and washing.
  7. Animal carcasses/tissues will be handled by the investigator and must be double-bagged in plastic biohazard bags and staged for disposal by placing the bag(s) in red biowaste tubs located within the walk-in coolers, refrigerators, or freezers of each animal facility.

General Policies

  1. Access is limited to necessary personnel.
  2. Eating, drinking, smoking, and storing of food for human use are not permitted in any animal room.
  3. Personal protective equipment is available and must be worn by all personnel entering the biocontainment room. Remove PPE before leaving the animal room, discarding the PPE in the biohazard container in the room.
  4. Personnel must wash their hands before leaving the room or animal facility.
  5. A biohazard sign that includes the universal biohazard symbol, the biohazard agent/s presently in use in the room, and name and telephone number of the primary investigator/lab contact must be posted on the door.
  6. Cages must also bear the universal biohazard label, the biohazard agent being used, and date of administration.
  7. In the event an incident occurs that may result in an exposure to recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules/infectious materials (including animal bites), immediately notify your supervisor and EHS’s Biosafety Officer (353-5679).

Use of Agent

  1. The agent should be manipulated within a biological safety cabinet, following EHS guidelines.
  2. Work surfaces must be decontaminated after use and in the event of a spill. Research staff must ensure disinfectant is effective against the agent in use; OAR currently provides Spor-Klenz within the facility.
  3. Procedures must be performed to minimize the creation of aerosols. Only needle-locking syringes or disposable syringe units (i.e., the needle is integral to the syringe) may be used for the injection or aspiration of infectious fluids. Following the procedure, the needle and syringe should be promptly placed in a puncture-resistant sharps container. Recapping needles is strongly discouraged; if you need to recap needles, you must follow EHS guidelines for this procedure.
  4. All contaminated materials used by the investigator (needles, syringes, vials, gloves, etc.) must be properly disposed of in the appropriate biohazard containers, i.e., needles, syringes and vials placed in a sharp’s container, and gloves, etc. placed in the biohazard box/container. Biohazard containers are located in the animal rooms.

WHEN APPROVED IN ADVANCE BY AN OAR/IACUC VETERINARIAN
Use of Core Facilities with infected animals

  1. Whenever possible, animals are manipulated on the cart used to transport the animals to the facility (rather than “contaminating” table top surfaces or absorbable ‘chucks’ in the room).
  2. If necessary, dedicated ‘nose cones’ are used to administer gas anesthetic to maintain anesthetic level of the animal.
  3. When possible, anesthetized animals are placed on a single use disposable sheet on shared equipment (a black sheet is used for the IVIS).
  4. When the procedure/imaging is completed, animals are placed back into their cage and the filter top put back into place.
  5. The disposable sheet is sprayed down (until wet) with an appropriate disinfectant and placed in the biohazard waste receptacle in the facility.
  6. The equipment is disinfected with an appropriate disinfectant (includes inside of machines as well as the outside and handles/knobs).
  7. Nose cones, if used, are disinfected by soaking them in a closed container with appropriate disinfectant and stored in the investigator’s lab, not the core facility.
  8. All working surfaces in the room (e.g. table tops, plastic cover on computer keyboards, etc.) are disinfected with an appropriate disinfectant. If any absorbable ‘chuck(s)’ on table top surfaces are used or contaminated they will be decontaminated with an appropriate disinfectant, disposed of in the biohazard waste receptacle, and replaced with a clean ‘chuck’.

Cage handling

  1. Infectious rodents are housed in a Thoren unit or on a shelving rack with filter-top caging.
  2. Soiled bottles, feeders, filter tops, and cages with bedding must be placed in the covered dirty staging cart for autoclaving prior to manipulating, washing and reuse.
  3. All animals and caging must be handled within a certified biosafety cabinet. Exceptions and/or deviations from utilizing a biosafety cabinet for manipulations in the lab or core service (ex: imaging) should be described in the deviations sections of your hazard containment form associated with you animal protocol.

OAR Personnel

Infected Animal Disposal

  1. If a deceased animal is found, OAR personnel will bag the carcass in a biohazard-labeled double bag, place it in the cooler, and submit a dead in pen (DIP) slip for the animal. The PI and any staff with system access will receive an email from the OAR office or vet staff notifying them of the death.
  2. Carcasses are placed in a DIP bin in the cooler; bins are labeled with the day of the week that corresponds to the date on the automated email that PIs and staff receive once the DIP slip is processed. Carcasses are saved for at least 3 days’ post-death, longer over holidays.

This protocol has been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR) and Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) for use of recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecules and/or biological organisms in large animals, when assigned to Animal Biosafety Level 2n (ABSL2n).

Research Staff:
General Policies

  1. In advance of administration of any agents covered under this protocol, contact the facility supervisor to arrange for appropriate housing of the animals after exposure.
  2. Access is limited to necessary personnel.
  3. Eating, drinking, smoking, and storing of food for human use are not permitted in any animal room.
  4. Exposed animals transported between the Animal Resources facilities and investigator laboratories is only permitted after coordination with and approval from OAR and EHS. Animals must be transported in appropriate caging/housing with a covering material over the cage; transport requirements will be developed for each laboratory’s specific need.
  5. Required PPE is prominently posted on the entry doors to all animal biocontainment housing rooms.
  6. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is available and must be worn by all personnel entering the biocontainment room. Remove PPE before leaving the animal room, discarding the PPE in the biohazard container in the room.
  7. Personnel must wash their hands before leaving the room or animal facility.
  8. A biohazard sign that includes the universal biohazard symbol, the biohazard agent presently in use in the room, PPE required, room entry and exit requirements, and name and telephone number of the principal investigator/lab contact must be posted on the door.
  9. Cages must also bear the universal biohazard label, the biohazard agent being used, date of administration and the final date of possible shedding of the agent, if applicable.
  10. If applicable, the animals may be returned to non-biocontainment housing after meeting three conditions:
  11. The final day of shedding has passed after the last exposure,
  12. There’s been at least one cage/pen cleaning after shedding has ceased, and
  13. Housing in a non-biocontainment room has been coordinated and approved through OAR and EHS.
  14. Soiled cages, transports, or other housing equipment should not be removed from the biocontainment room without prior review and approval from an OAR veterinarian. If caging or other equipment is removed, it must be returned to the biocontainment room where all bedding, waste and other housing equipment from animals exposed to infectious agents will be managed by OAR husbandry personnel.
  15. Animal carcasses/tissues will be handled by the research staff and must be double-bagged in plastic biohazard bags and staged for disposal by placing the bag(s) in red biowaste tubs located within the walk- in coolers, refrigerators, or freezers of each animal facility.
  16. In the event an incident occurs that may result in an exposure to recombinant or /synthetic nucleic acid molecules/infectious materials (including animal bites), immediately notify your supervisor and EHS’s Biosafety Officer (353-5679).

Use of Agent

  1. Wherever possible, the agent should be manipulated within a biological safety cabinet.
  2. Work surfaces must be decontaminated after use and in the event of a spill. Research staff must ensure disinfectant is effective against the agent in use; OAR currently provides Spor-Klenz within the facility.
  3. Procedures must be performed to minimize the creation of aerosols. Only needle-locking syringes or disposable syringe units (i.e., the needle is integral to the syringe) may be used for the injection or aspiration of infectious fluids. Following the procedure, the needle and syringe should be promptly placed in a puncture-resistant sharps container.
  4. All contaminated materials used by the investigator (needles, syringes, vials, gloves, etc.) must be properly disposed of in the appropriate biohazard containers, i.e., needles, syringes and vials placed in a sharps container, and gloves, etc. placed in the biohazard box/container.

Use of Core Facilities must be reviewed and approved by OAR and EHS

OAR Personnel

Cage handling

  1. Manipulate cages that are not marked biohazard first.
  2. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is available and must be worn by personnel entering the biocontainment room. Remove PPE before leaving the animal room, discarding the PPE in the biohazard container in the room.
  3. When there is a possibility of agent shedding or use of recombinant DNA, bedding and animal waste must be disposed of as biohazardous waste. Bedding should be misted prior to dumping/collection in a red bag to decrease aerosol generation.
  4. Cages, nesting boxes, enrichment items, and transport carts will be sprayed down with appropriate disinfectant and allowed the proper exposure time prior to cage washing.

Infected Animal Disposal

  1. If a deceased animal is found, OAR personnel will bag the carcass in a biohazard-labeled bag, place it in the cooler, and submit a dead in pen (DIP) slip for the animal. The PI and any staff with system access will receive an email from the OAR office or vet staff notifying them of the death.
  2. Carcasses are placed in a DIP bin in the cooler; bins are labeled with the day of the week that corresponds to the date on the automated email that PIs and staff receive once the DIP slip is processed. Carcasses are saved for at least 3 days’ post-death, longer over holidays.

Animal Biosafety Level 3 (ABSL3) procedures have been developed by the Office of Animal Resources (OAR), Environmental Health and Stafety (EHS) and the Carver College of Medicine's BSL3 Oversight Committee (CCOMBOC). Policies and procedures are described in detail within the BSL3 Core Facility Biosafety Manual. BSL3 research staff are required to follow all safety and security procedures of the BSL3 Core Facility. In addition, each Principal Investigator must submit a separate BSL3 Standard Operating Procedure to the CCOMBOC for review and approval, detailing laboratory and animal procedures within this research project.

Whether or not recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules have been administered to an animal, most carcasses/tissues are double-bagged in plastic biohazard bags and staged for disposal by placing the bag(s) in “biohazard” labeled containers located within the walk-in coolers, refrigerators, or freezers of each animal facility. Exceptions to this policy are outlined below:

  • Drosophila species
    • Euthanize followed by autoclaving and disposal in “biohazard” labeled containers or regular trash OR
    • Euthanize followed by disposal in “biohazard” labeled containers.
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
    • Dispose in “biohazard” labeled containers
  • Danio rerio (Eggs, Fry and Adults)
    • Euthanize followed by autoclaving and disposal in “biohazard” labeled containers or regular trash, OR
    • Euthanize followed by disposal in “biohazard” labeled containers.
  • Xenopus species (Eggs, Tadpoles and Adults)
    • Euthanize followed by autoclaving and disposal in “biohazard” labeled containers or regular trash, OR
    • Euthanize followed by disposal in “biohazard” labeled containers.

All animals, in which recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules have been administered, must be properly treated/decontaminated prior to final disposal. Stericycle will properly treat and dispose of animal carcasses and tissues which are placed into the “biohazard” labeled containers located in the animal facilities. Any animal disposed of in the laboratory (Drosophila, C. elegans, D. rerio, or Xenopus) must be properly treated before disposal, regardless of the assigned animal biosafety level.