Animal Exposure Surveillance Program

The Animal Exposure Surveillance Program (AESP) promotes and protects the health of individuals who work with animals as well as the health of the animals. This is a mandatory program for anyone who comes in contact with animals during the course of work at BWH research labs. The screening program must be completed prior to the start of work and then annually.

One of the goals of the surveillance program is to ensure that individuals working around animals are free of infectious diseases.

The specific requirements include:

TB Screening Program

  • Evidence of a TB skin test within the past three months;
  • Evidence of a negative chest x-ray within the past one year for individuals who are known to test positive to the TB skin test.
  • Bi-annual screening is required for anyone who works with non-human primates.

Measles, Mumps and Rubella Immunity

  • Documentation of 2 measles vaccines, 2 mumps vaccines and 1 rubella vaccine OR documentation of 2 MMR vaccines
  • Proof of immunity to measles, mumps, and rubella by laboratory titer.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Documentation of Hepatitis B vaccine and/or positive antibody test for Hepatitis B must be provided for individuals who may be exposed to blood or body fluids during their experience at BWH.

BWH will provide this vaccine free of charge to individuals who may be exposed to blood or body fluids during their work.

Chicken Pox (Varicella) Anyone who does not have a history of chicken pox is strongly recommended to receive the chicken pox (varicella) vaccine. As an adult, chicken pox can be a very serious illness.

Rabies Vaccine The rabies vaccine is provided on an as needed basis at the direction of the Principle Investigator.

Vaccinia Vaccination The vaccinia vaccination will be provided to any individual who may have potential exposure to vaccinia or vaccinia sub-species at the direction of the Principle Investigator.

Tetanus Diphtheria (Tdap) The Tdap vaccine is provided free of charge based on the CDC guidelines

The surveillance program also includes evaluating allergies, and work injuries and illnesses that may be related to your contact with animals.

Why is this Mandatory?

The National Institute of Health mandates compliance with occupational health surveillance program on a pre-placement and an annual basis. The NIH requires evidence of compliance as a condition for awarding grant funding. Failure to comply may result in discontinued NIH funding. This mandate is heavily enforced.

What is the Process?

The Animal Exposure Surveillance program (AESP) is managed by the Occupational Health Service (OHS), Neville House, 1st floor. The initial screening is done at the time of the pre-placement visit in the Occupational Health Service Clinic; both the initial and the annual screening process may be done at the clinic or handled through the Research Coordinator

  • Obtain the AESP screening form in the OHS clinic or from the Research Coordinator
  • Complete the entire form and return it to the office or on-line or by fax
  • The Occupational Health Service will review the form on a timely basis.
  • Clearance to work with animals will be provided when all standards are met and will be issued for one year.

Participation is Mandatory

Anyone who works with animals is required to have a pre-placement animal research surveillance screening prior to work. The surveillance program is also required on an annual basis thereafter.

Who Does This Apply To?

Participation is mandatory for individuals who:

  • Participate in research involving animals
  • Provide care to animals
  • Work in animal housing areas

This includes:

  • Permanent Staff/Employees
  • House Staff
  • Sponsored Staff
  • Others

Consequences of Non-Compliance

If you do not participate in the Animal Exposure Surveillance Program, your access to animal laboratories will not be granted, or in the event you currently have access, your access will be discontinued.

For enrollment, or more information, please contact the Animal Exposure Surveillance Program Coordinator, Riolla Riobe, at 617-732-8502.

Part of the Occupational Health Service
Hours of Service:
Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 4:00 pm
Location of Services:
Neville House, 1st floor
(617) 732-6034

  • Pre-Placement Screening

PBB Ground Pike, Mid-Campus
(617) 732-8501

  • Evaluation and treatment of work related injuries or illnesses
  • Bloodborne pathogen exposures
  • Animal bites or scratches

BWH Emergency Department
Is available for work injuries and illnesses that occur off-hours and on weekends.

“STIK” Beeper Service
In the event of a blood or body fluid exposure page the STIK beeper #37845.