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Allergic Sensitivities

Allergic skin and respiratory reactions are quite common in personnel working with laboratory animals. Many animals are implicated including the cat, dog, horse, rabbit, rat, mouse, hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, and NHP. Up to 8% of clients with budgies are affected. Hypersensitivity reactions include: (1.) Nasal congestion (2.) Runny nose (3.) Sneezing (4.) Itching of eyes (5.) Angioedema (6.) Asthma (7.) A variety of skin manifestations (localized urticaria and eczema) Maximal allergenic activity in humans resulted from the albumin fraction of pelt extracts from rats, mice, and rabbits. The fraction of G. pig extract with maximum allergic activity seems to be a prealbumin. Two major allergens in mouse serum, skin, and urine have been identified. *THE MAJOR URINARY PROTEIN COMPLEX IS ONE OF THE MOST RECENT ALLERGENS TO BE IDENTIFIED FROM MOUSE PELTS AND SKIN. Suggests that a possible cause of sensitization in lab personnel is dispersal of urinary protein from litter in mouse cages.

DIAGNOSIS:

History Physical Exam Pulmonary Function Tests Skin Testing Laboratory Tests (a.) CBC (b.) Immunoglobulins and IgE antibody specific to one allergen as measured by the RAST (Radioallergosorbent Test) (c.) Nasal smears for eosinophilia (d.) Serum precipitants to specific allergens

TREATMENT AND PREVENTION:

Pharmacologic treatment Allergen Immunotherapy Complete avoidance of the antigen Reducing exposure to offending antigen (a.) Reduction of direct animal contact time (b.) Increasing room ventilation (c.) Exhaust hoods (d.) Filter caps on cages (e.) Protective clothing, masks, and respirators.