Even with improved housing and health monitoring, positive serologic or culture findings for microorganisms can and do happen in animal facilities. And as much as an animal facility wants negative laboratory results for all agents on an exclusion list, bacteria, viruses, and parasites can sidestep even the best control methodologies, infecting laboratory animal colonies.
Alas, long is the list of potentially contaminating circumstances. Shipping animals between institutions can increase the risk for contamination, especially when an institution’s health status is unknown. Movement of staff from areas of low-health status to high also increases risk, as well as other factors, including unscreened biological materials and contaminated food.
Knowledge of such risks helps combat the spread of infectious agents. But what if that knowledge were wrong? What if we were working with faulty assumptions? More risky than the prevalence of certain pathogens or the shipment of animals are the potential false positives in our understandings. These are the myths—things we think are true but are actually false. In this article on microbiological contamination, we’ll discuss the 10 most common.