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Protocol for Handling Patients with Zoonotic Infections

  • If a patient is recognized to have an infection with zoonotic potential, it is the responsibility of the clinician in charge to contact the area supervisor where the animal is housed. The supervisor will label the patient’s stall with a chartreuse label:
    • “Patient has a zoonotic infection. Contact student or technician in charge before handling.”
  • A dated, chartreuse label will be placed on the cover of the permanent record folder by the service.

Patient handling:

  • The patient will be removed from its stall only when necessary.
  • If the patient's stall requires frequent cleaning, an additional stall should be assigned for exclusive use by the patient.
  • Persons in contact with the patient shall wear examination gloves, if possible, and wash their hands immediately after handling.

Patient Transportation within Hospital:

  • If a patient housed on B or C aisle must be transported to radiology, take it via the north aisle exit to the outside and round the lameness alley.
  • Patients going for exercise outside should be taken out to the back alley and walked towards the isolation area.
  • The student, technician, or clinician in charge of the patient shall remain with the patient until it is returned to the stall.
  • The technician or supervisor responsible for areas where the patient has been treated shall be informed immediately so that the area can be properly disinfected with the appropriate solutions.

Patient Treatments:

  • Before initiating a treatment, ensure that all items necessary to perform the treatment have been gathered to prevent spreading contamination during the treatment.
  • Whenever possible, use disposable materials.
  • Items that are not disposable shall be thoroughly disinfected immediately after use.

Handling Urine:

  • Patients with urinary tract infections shall be taken away from other animals to urinate.
  • Catheterized patients should have a closed collection system.
  • Urine and urine collection materials shall be handled only by personnel wearing disposable gloves.
  • Urine in cages and on floors shall be cleaned up promptly.
  • Gloves, paper towels used for cleaning, etc. shall be disposed of in biohazard bags and placed in trash for incineration.
  • Animal technicians are to use cleaning equipment that is assigned to this patient when cleaning the stall. To reduce contamination, the cleaning equipment shall not be used to clean any other areas.
  • When the patient is discharged or moved to another area of the hospital, the supervisor of that clinical area shall be notified so that the stall can be properly disinfected. When the patient is discharged, the supervisor of that area will be responsible for assuring that the  stall has been properly cleaned and disinfected. After discharge the supervisor will be responsible for culturing the stall following disinfection.
  • The culture shall be submitted to the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory.
  • If the infection has high zoonotic potential, the hospital Epidemiologist shall be contacted.
  • The clinician responsible for the patient will determine if the patient should be placed in isolation unless there is an overriding policy for the specific area of the hospital.
  • Submission of clinical samples: For animals with infections of zoonotic potential, samples of fluids or tissues submitted to laboratories or necropsy shall be properly packaged and clearly labeled with ZOONOTIC POTENTIAL stickers.
  • A contact log should be kept for suspect leptospirosis patients.
  • In addition to wearing gloves, a face shield and gown must also be worn when handling leptospirosis and brucellosis suspect patients.
  • Apparel presented to Central Supply for decontamination must be double bagged in biohazard bags and labeled.
  • Instrumentation must be immersed in an instrument germicide before being taken to Sterile Supply.
  • See the supervisor if an item needs to be sterilized and returned to the department.