Working with Pregnant Sheep Inside Facilities
- For entry into the sheep housing area, the following requirements apply: Enrollment in Occupational Health and baseline Q fever serology. Annual serological testing is not required.
- For entry into the surgical suite the following requirements apply: Enrollment in Occupational Health, baseline serology, and participation in the respiratory protection program.
Annual fit testing is required for all individuals required to wear respiratory protection, per 29 CFR 1910.134.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- For short-term holding and routine housing and husbandry of pregnant ewes inside a research facility, the following personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn: dedicated outerwear (coveralls or lab coats) and gloves. N95 or PAPR respiratory protection is not required. However, if any personnel request respiratory protection, fit testing and additional services from BOHP will be provided.
- For cleaning and hosing of animal pens housing pregnant sheep: the use of additional protective equipment (e.g. surgical mask, face shield, N95, or PAPR) is recommended and should be worn by personnel involved in these activities.
- For surgery with pregnant ewes, the following PPE is required: sterile gowns and gloves, regular head and shoe covers, and an N95 (or PAPR, as appropriate) respirator.
- When attending to a stillbirth or spontaneous abortion, the following PPE is required: dedicated outerwear, gloves and respiratory protection (N95 or PAPR, as appropriate).
Waste Management in the Facility
- Animal wastes not containing or contaminated with reproductive or birth products may be disposed of by the usual means. Decontamination of these wastes or special handling prior to disposal is not required.
- Wastes containing or contaminated by aborted fetuses and/or other reproductive or birth products must be handled as biohazardous wastes and decontaminated by an approved method (e.g. autoclaved, incinerated or chemically disinfected) prior to disposal.
Handling of reproductive tissues removed from pregnant ewes during surgery (e.g. uterine tissues, placenta, fetus, amniotic fluid, allantoic fluid, or anything coming into contact with these tissues):
- Ovine reproductive tissues are considered potentially infectious and handled accordingly. Personnel should wear gloves and a lab coat when handling these tissues.
- Reproductive tissues harvested in the surgical suite must be transported to the lab in sealed, leak-proof transport containers.
- Activities with ovine reproductive tissues, having the potential for generating infectious aerosols as described in the BMBL, 5th edition (e.g. pipetting, centrifuging, grinding, blending, shaking, mixing, and sonicating), should be performed inside the Biosafety cabinet. In the event that aerosol generating manipulations with these tissues cannot be conducted inside a biosafety cabinet, respiratory protection (N95 or PAPR, as appropriate) must be worn by individuals performing such manipulations.
- Fixed tissues would not be subject to biosafety containment levels (BSL-1 or BSL-2).
Education and Awareness
- All personnel working with pregnant ewes inside research facilities must complete TrainTraq Course 2111497 – Researchers Who Work with Pregnant Sheep Inside Facilities.
- Each PI engaged in research with pregnant ewes will train personnel on the risks associated with zoonotic disease from endemic sources, e.g., Coxiella burnetti.
- Education will include an emphasis on known risk factors associated with more severe outcomes (e.g., cardiac disease and chronic Q fever association). Personnel who may be pregnant, suffering from cardiovascular diseases or immunologically compromised will be excused from working with pregnant ewes.
- Personnel will be trained on Standard Operating Procedures for working with pregnant ewes, handling of any aborted fetal-placental tissues and disinfecting the area where aborted fetal-placental tissues are found.
- Training of personnel will be documented.
- All indoor housing, research and/or procedure areas for pregnant sheep shall be negative pressurized relative to corridors and non-laboratory areas.