Based on the species you are working with, you should be aware of the following potential health risks:
- Asthma and Allergy in Animal Handlers
- Avian Tuberculosis
- Bites and Scratches
- Enteric Bacteria
- Newcastle Disease
- Preventing Asthma in Animal Handlers
What You Should Do
1. Be knowledgeable about the potential for developing allergies and/or asthma due to animal handling- especially if you are already allergic. When seeking medical advice for any illness, inform your physician that you work with birds.
2. Consider using a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator – even if you do not have any symptoms. These respirators have been shown to reduce the chance of developing laboratory animal allergies. In order to use a respirator, you must have a fit test through the Environmental Health & Safety.
3. Know proper handling techniques of birds. Only trained personnel should handle birds. Handling and restraint training can be scheduled through the Center for Comparative Medicine.
4. Gloves and lab coats should be worn at all times when working with birds. Minimize wearing protective clothing, such as lab coats, outside of animal areas and laboratories. Follow posted personal protective clothing requirements. Perform procedures in a laminar flow hood whenever possible.
5. Keep transport carriers out of labs/offices/public areas.
6. Use disposable supplies whenever possible. Sanitize laboratory and surgical areas after animal work.
7. Always wash your hands after coming in contact with birds.