Laboratory animal allergy
Allergies to laboratory animals are a common occupational health problem. The vast majority of laboratory animals used at Karolinska Institutet are mice and rats. KI has adopted centralised rules in order to reduce the occurrence of laboratory animal allergies and the problems these cause.
Work shall be so planned and executed so that the staff is not exposed to allergens any more than is necessary.
The employer shall ensure that the employee has adequate knowledge about the risks inherent in this type of work. The written handling and safety instructions necessary for the work shall be available at the workplace.
The employer shall offer a medical inspection to the employee prior to starting this type of work. It is the responsibility of the head of the department or the person to whom such responsibility has been delegated, to ensure compliance with these rules.
KI has an agreement with the Occupational Health Service provider Previa to perform health checks.
The employee shall use the protective equipment provided and follow the rules to ensure a good working environment. A risk assessment shall always be carried out prior to starting an experiment.
Legally required health check prior to starting work with laboratory animals
Employees who will routinely work with laboratory animals or who have developed allergy issues or hypersensitivity in connection with this type of work shall be offered a health check as specified in AFS 1990:11 ”Arbete med försökdsdjur”. The employee meets with both a doctor and a company nurse. Discussion and mapping is carried out concerning allergies (mainly asthma, rhinitis and atopy).
The employee shall be informed about the possibility for further visits if problems should appear at a later date. A spirometer test, blood samples, total IgE and what is known as a rodent panel test are performed.