The animal use medical screening program evaluates and addresses the potential health risks of working with research animals.
Animal use medical screening (AUMS) must be offered to all faculty, staff, veterinary staff, animal husbandry staff and students who work directly with animals or unfixed animal tissues or body fluids, and to facilities and maintenance staff who enter the animal-care environment.
Lab animal allergies
Allergies are the body’s immune response from exposure to proteins called allergens. In animal settings, allergen sources include dander, fur, scales, body wastes and saliva from animals. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health estimates that about one-third of animal handlers have allergic symptoms and about 10 percent have animal-induced asthma. The goal of the AUMS is to identify and reduce individual risk of developing lab animal allergies and to help prevent existing allergies from worsening.
Reducing exposure to animal allergens involves a global approach of raising awareness and implementing workplace controls, work practices and personal protective equipment (PPE). Workplace engineering controls include ventilation and biological safety cabinets. Work practice controls involve behaviors such as good hygiene and good housekeeping. PPE, such as a respirator, can help reduce inhalation of allergens.
As part of the AUMS process, an occupational health nurse will discuss your individual risk and methods for reducing exposure to animal allergens. If there is a need for a worksite evaluation or medical follow-up, we can refer you to the appropriate sources.
For more information about lab animal allergies, please see the Laboratory Animal Allergy Focus Sheet.
When is AUMS required?
If you plan to enter or work in an animal care and use environment, you must complete the online AUMS form:
- Prior to work in the animal care and use environment
- Every three years thereafter
- Any time a change in health status has occurred
- As otherwise directed by the occupational health nurse.
Annual in-person evaluations are completed for animal husbandry, veterinary and other designated research support staff. The occupational health nurse provides the Office of Animal Welfare (OAW) with a list of people who are cleared for work.
Contact an occupational health nurse at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.685.1026 with any questions.