Submitted to: Animal Health Research Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 25, 2012
Publication Date: January 23, 2013
Citation: Olsen, S.C. 2013. Biosafety considerations for in vivo work with risk group 3 pathogens in large animals and wildlife in North America. Animal Health Research Reviews. 3:1-9.
Interpretive Summary: Brucella spp are intracellular pathogens that cause reproductive losses in domestic livestock and which also cause zoonotic infections in people. Regulatory programs in domestic livestock, which include vaccination of livestock, are the most cost-efficient way to control brucellosis and prevent human infection. In this manuscript, we describe requirements for biocontainment of animals infected with brucellosis, and various considerations of animal care and housing that were utilized for designing and managing containment facilities for domestic livestock or wildlife. This data will be of interest to regulatory personnel, people with responsibilities for managing biocontainment facilities, livestock owners, and other parties with interests regarding intracellular diseases of livestock.
Regulations in the United States require BL3 or BL3-Ag containment for many endemic zoonotic pathogens and etiologic agents of foreign animal diseases. In an effort to protect public health, billions of dollars were invested in regulatory programs over many years to reduce the prevalence of zoonotic pathogens such as brucellosis and tuberculosis in domestic livestock. In addition to research needs in domestic livestock hosts, the establishment of brucellosis and tuberculosis in wildlife in the United States has created a need for research studies addressing these zoonotic diseases. As guidelines in the BMBL for BL3 facilities are primarily directed toward laboratory or vivarium facilities, additional issues should be considered in designing large animal containment facilities for domestic livestock and/or wildlife. Flight distance, herd orientation, social needs, aggressiveness and predictability are all factors we considered on a species by species basis for designing our containment facilities and for work practices with large ruminants. Although safety risks cannot be totally eliminated when working with large animals, these types of studies in natural hosts are critical for advancing vaccine and diagnostic development, and providing basic knowledge of disease pathogenesis in natural hosts. Data gathered in these types of studies are vital for state and national regulatory personnel in their efforts to design strategies to control or eradicate brucellosis and tuberculosis in their natural hosts, whether it is domestic livestock or wildlife. It is likely that failure to address the prevalence in wildlife reservoirs will lead to reemergence in domestic livestock. The overall benefit of these studies is to protect public health, provide economic benefits to producers, and protect the economic investment made in regulatory programs.