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X Personnel A. GENERAL COMMENTS The personnel requirements for a facility maintaining amphibians are not essentially different from those for other laboratory animal facilities. Therefore, pages 15-17 of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Committee on Revision of the Guide for Laboratory Animal Facilities and Care, 1972) should be consulted. However, insofar as we know, except for The University of Michigan, no other institution rou- tinely trains veterinarians in the care and management of amphibians as laboratory animals. This training results from collaboration between the Unit for Laboratory Medicine and the Amphibian Facility. Consequently, it is doubtful that the recommendations for personnel as given in the above Guide and calling for direction by veterinarians can be met at present. Until this situation changes it seems more realistic that direc- tion of an amphibian facility should reside with a staff member ex- perienced in amphibian biology and reproduction and who is advised by a veterinarian experienced in laboratory animal medicine. The former assures that the real differences between amphibian husbandry and the husbandry of other laboratory animals are clearly recognized; the latter assures that well-known and standardized practices that are applicable are followed. Similar circumstances apply with respect to animal technologists. Cur- rently, no formal training or certification is available for animal technol- ogists wishing to specialize in amphibian care. Although arrangements can be made for technical personnel to gain experience with amphibians at the Amphibian Facility of The University of Michigan, the availability of personnel trained there will remain limited for the immediate future. In the absence of specific training programs it has been found that, for 127
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128 both academic and commercial establishments concerned with the han- dling of amphibians, certain criteria are of value in selecting personnel. Among these criteria are adaptability, sensitivity to animals as frequently revealed by those with animal hobby interests, and an understanding that work schedules require the assignment of duties on a 24-in-a-day, 7-days-a- week basis. The need for insect as well as amphibian husbandry requires regular attention on weekends. In the absence of training that inculcates the concept of this requirement, weekend duties too frequently must be met by the operating managers. Other aspects of personnel management are not unique but are of ma- jor importance and managers of facilities would be well advised to develop expertise as now understood by specialists in this area (D'Ver, 1973~. B. SAFETY HAZARDS 1. Physical Among the relatively few hazards in an amphibian facility, the greatest danger is posed by the extensive use of water and of electrical appliances in the same work areas. Each member of the staff must be trained and alerted to the potential dangers, and electrical installations must be made by professionals who are aware of the nature of the facility and of this hazard. Other hazards result from the prevalence of water and the height of cage racks. All Door and ladder surfaces should be constructed of or covered with "nonskid" materials and attention should be given to re- ducing the numbers of Warp corners or devices that might prove dan- gerous should personnel fall against them. The use of "nonskid" foot- wear is also recommended. 2. Biological Diseases transmitted from animals to man are known as zoonoses. The peril to humans by contact with North American amphibians is con- sidered so minimal that experiments with living anurans and urodeles constitute part of the biology curriculum of almost all high schools, colleges, and universities. However, researchers and teachers should be aware that most amphibians obtained from commercial sources are wild- caught (see Chapter III, Section B.2) and, like all animals taken from nature and many household pets, may harbor etiological agents for dis- eases infectious to man (Van der Hoeden, 1964; Schwabe, 1969; Benen- son, 1970~. Accordingly, it seems prudent to instruct all personnel
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129 working with amphibians to wear protective gloves if they have cuts and cracks on their hands, not to touch mucous membranes while working, and to wash their hands carefully after handling amphibians. Chapter IX, Section C describes the herpesvirus associated with a preva- lent renal tumor that afflicts R. pipiens. There is no evidence at this time to suggest that humans are susceptible to infection by frog viruses that would result in a neoplasm or any other disease. While this is true, lab- oratory staff exposed to frog viruses should be alerted to possible risks and methods of avoiding them. It is recommended that personnel who are exposed to tumor virus preparations be trained in microbiological technique and in the correct handling and disposal of infected animals. Particular precautions should be observed by pregnant staff (Chesterman, 1967~. Hazards from working on oncogenic viruses and preventive measures that afford protection are discussed in a manual edited by Hellman (1969) and in a recent book by Hellman, Oxman, and Pollack (1973~. The former should be read by all personnel prior to beginning work with any onco . . genlc virus. Workers should also be alerted that some exotic amphibians produce highly dangerous skin secretions (Albuquerque et al., 1971; Daly and Witkop, 1971), and some produce secretions that, although not toxic, may be irritating. Personnel should be warned when such animals are brought to the laboratory, the animals should be clearly labeled, and the use of protective gloves and careful washing specifically encouraged. The use of live insects or insect products as well as the presence of ani- mals that splash lead to the production of dusts and aerosols that may be allergenic. Personnel should be made aware of this, particularly in refer- ence to diagnosing skin and nasopharyngeal conditions. Although few instances have been reported, allergic responses in amphibian quarters may be expected as the number of installations increases.
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