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Occupational Health


All staff working with animals and insects are at risk of developing an exposure related allergy even when there is no history of a previous problem. A personal history of allergy to common environmental allergens and exposure to laboratory animals increases the risk of developing an allergy.

Animal allergens are found in the urine, fur, saliva and serum of laboratory animal species. Contamination of the environment may occur by the allergens becoming airborne or being carried on clothing.

Allergy symptoms include:

  • Rhinitis (runny eyes and nose)
  • Conjunctivitis (itchy eyes and nose)
  • Skin rashes
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Breathlessness
  • Coughing

See - Allergy to Laboratory Animals information leaflet


It is important that any of these symptoms are reported to the relevant supervisor and Occupational Health as soon as they occur so that they can be properly investigated and appropriate advice given.

Consistent with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002 Regulations (COSHH)  and the University's Policy on Animal Allergy - including that to Laboratory Animals - all staff and students working with laboratory animals or insects must register with Occupational Health prior to or on commencement of their work. Periodic health monitoring will continue during work exposure and any possible animal allergy symptoms fully and sensitively investigated by Occupational Health.