Occupational Health Program for Handling Non-Human Primates

Some potential occupational hazards are associated with the use of non-human primates.  Precautions need to be taken in order to minimize the potential for animal-to-human zoonotic disease. Also of concern is possible human-to-animal disease transmission.

Gloves, masks and a laboratory coat (or other dedicated protective clothing such as arm protection and/or a scrub suit) should be worn when working with non-human primates. In some cases, protective eye wear is also indicated. Do not eat, drink, or apply cosmetics while working in an animal use area, and always wash your hands after handling primates. Remember that unfixed tissues, blood, serum, urine, and other materials derived from primates may also pose a risk. Bedding and fur may exacerbate allergies.

Bites and scratches involving non-human primates or injuries from objects contaminated with body fluids from non-human primates require immediate first aid and medical attention.

If you feel sick or are injured and concerned, it might be related to your work with primates.  Notify your supervisor immediately!  During the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, you can call or go to University Health Services ((413) 577-5000).

For immediate life threatening injuries, dial 9-1-1, or go to the nearest emergency facility (e.g., Cooley Dickinson Hospital: (413) 582-2000). University Health Services is not an emergency facility.

Go to Biological Safety Manual