Laboratory animal facilities are simply a special type of laboratory. As a general principle, the biosafety level (facilities, practices, and operational requirements) recommended for working with infectious agents in-vivo and in-vitro are comparable. In the microbiological laboratory, hazardous conditions are caused by personnel or by the equipment being used. In the animal room, the activities of the animals themselves can present new hazards. Animals may generate aerosols, they may bite and scratch and they may be infected with a zoonotic disease.
The recommendations detailed below describe two common types of Biosafety Level facilities found at FSU. The safety level is based on combinations of practices, safety equipment, and facilities for experiments with animals infected with agents that cause, or may cause, human infection. These two levels, designated Animal Biosafety Levels (ABSL) 1 and 2, provide increasing levels of protection to personnel and to the environment, and are recommended as minimal standards for activities involving infected laboratory animals.
The two ABSLs describe animal facilities and practices applicable to work with animals infected with agents assigned to Biosafety Levels 1 and 2, respectively. Researchers that are not familiar with this type of work should seek help in designing their experiments from more experienced individuals.
Note that ABSL 3 and 4 guidelines can be obtained from Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (5th edition); 2009 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Institutes of Health.
Summary of Recommended Animal Biosafety Levels for Activities in Which Experimentally or Naturally Infected Vertebrate Animals Are Used