Equipment and Caging for Biological Control Barrier and Containment Microisolation Caging System Microisolation Cages and Cage Change Cabinets

Microisolation cages that were described in the rodent housing section of this chapter provide a highly effective barrier and containment caging system. Static microisolation caging may be more suited for containment than positive pressure ventilated microisolation cages. If ventilated cages are to be used for containment, they should be tightly sealed.

To be fully effective at controlling cross contamination in barrier or containment situations requires using the "microisolation caging system." The system includes using microisolation cages, static or ventilated, in combination with HEPA-filtered air "clean bench" or a Class II Type A biocontainment cabinet that protects the interior of the cage from external microbial contamination when the cage is opened, either for performing procedures with the animals or transferring the animals to a clean cage. These are commonly referred to as cage change cabinets or animal transfer cabinets. The Class II Type A biocontainment cabinet has the advantage of protecting the operator and the operator's environment, as well as the product in the cabinet, which in this case, is the animals in the open cage, and must be used if biocontainment is the objective (Figure 8.27). In addition to the microisolation cage and the cage change cabinet, the microisolation caging "system" includes operational procedures such as opening one cage at a time in the cabinet except when transferring animals to a clean cage, which requires having the soiled and clean cages open in the cabinet; and between working with cages in the cabinet, using a fast-acting high-level disinfectant on the cabinet work surface, gloved hands, and any instrumentation that touches the animals.

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