Marine de Marcken

Project title: Background on laboratory animal allergy and recommendations for management of LAA patient care at HAWC

Degree: MPH | Program: One Health (ONE) | Project type: Practicum
Completed in: 2020 | Faculty advisor: Peter Rabinowitz


Introduction to Laboratory Animal Allergy

Animal allergens are a significant occupational hazard for laboratory animal workers. Repeated
exposures over time may lead to sensitization and laboratory animal allergy (LAA), a form of
occupational allergic disease characterized by rhinitis, asthma and/or anaphylaxis. These are
hypersensitivity or type 1 reactions of the immune system that result from the production of
immunoglobulin E (IgE). Allergies may negatively impact daily life, employment and career
opportunities for these workers. The first reported case of LAA occurred in the 1950s, it was
discovered to be common starting with cross-sectional epidemiological studies in the 1970s. 
Currently, there are no standards for maximum exposure levels to animal allergens in
occupational settings in the U.S., and prevention is limited to using personal protective
equipment (PPE) and ventilation systems.