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Notice to Readers: Status Report on CDC Laboratory Animal Care Accreditation

CDC conducts vital animal research to understand and ultimately prevent viral, mycotic, bacterial, and other diseases that threaten populations worldwide. CDC has a moral and ethical responsibility to humanely care for the animals that contribute to this research.

Since 1967, CDC has participated in and received accreditation from the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC) program. This accreditation process is an added safeguard to ensure ethical and humane treatment and care of the animals entrusted to the agency for participation in its research programs.

In late 2005, AAALAC conducted a review of CDC's research programs and laboratories for conducting animal research and noted certain areas in need of improvement, including the policies and procedures of CDC's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. AAALAC issued recommendations for raising the quality of animal care at CDC and enhancing worker safety. As a result of the AAALAC findings, CDC's accreditation was placed on probationary status.

In response to this review, CDC conducted it own investigation. Subsequently, during 2006, CDC upgraded its laboratory research facilities, improved the electronic records management system for its animal care program, and hired additional staff members to carry out the oversight and record-keeping functions required for the animal care and use program. In addition, CDC changed lines of authority and responsibility to ensure impartial and credible oversight, including moving oversight for the animal care and use program to the Office of the Director, putting it on equal standing with oversight for human subjects research, and assigning three veterinarians and two animal caretakers with independent access to the agency's Biosafety Level 4 laboratory.

In late October 2006, a five-member panel from AAALAC conducted a follow-up site visit to CDC's Atlanta campus; the official report is pending. CDC expects a full report from AAALAC in early 2007. Additional information regarding CDC's animal research facilities, practices, and electronic records management systems is available at http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/regs/acup.



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