People who work with animals have an occupational risk of allergies, which can lead to occupational asthma. To prevent asthma, it is important to find individuals who are starting to have allergy symptoms when they work with animals. By identifying these people and helping protect them with a special respirator, we can reduce their exposure to animal allergens and reduce their risk of asthma.
Faculty and staff in the Division of Animal Care, as well as research staff who work with sheep or goats, have the potential for exposure to Q fever. These employees are required to participate in OHC's surveillance program to detect any signs of Q fever infection.
All Division of Animal Care faculty and staff, and others who have contact with non-human primates, including research staff, are at potential risk for Herpes B virus infection and are required to participate in OHC’s medical surveillance program.
A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis. Most adults have already had toxoplasmosis; toxoplasmosis shows few or no symptoms 90% of the time. However, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems should be cautious.
Because macaques can carry a virus that is deadly to humans, workers need to know how to reduce their risk of exposure as well as what to do if they get exposed.
Animal users who have asthma or allergic conditions may become sensitive to animal allergens with repeated exposure. Up to 20% of allergic animal users may develop occupational asthma, which can limit the ability to work and may lead to permanent disability. An allergy is the over-reaction response of your immune system to substances in the environment. These substances are called allergens and can cause sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, itchy skin, sinus or nasal congestion or more serious reactions. When we touch or work around animals, we expose our bodies to these allergens.