Prion Exposure Control Methods

Administrative Controls

  • Personnel working with prions must not have contact with any other animal colonies or with susceptible animal species. Prion animal colonies must have separate air supply and exhaust systems (per USDA)
  • Follow Biosafety Level 2 requirements as outlined in Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition
  • The principle investigator or lab supervisor must train all workers in specific handling procedures for prions
  • Written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) must be available for worker reference
  • Lab access must be limited to trained individuals. If non-trained individuals need to enter the lab, they must be accompanied by a trained individual

Safe Practices

  • One of the main precautions to be taken when working with prions is to avoid puncture of the skin. Therefore, sharps and glass should not be used unless it has been determined that there is no other alternative
  • All work surfaces should be protected with disposable bench covers that are handled as low level prion waste
  • All manipulations with prions should be done in a biological safety cabinet. The biological safety cabinet must be certified annually
  • Open centrifuge rotors in a biological safety cabinet
  • Transport of all prion materials outside a biological cabinet requires secondary containment
  • All workers must wear the following Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):
    • Double gloves
    • Lab coat (disposable back closing preferred)
    • Goggles 
    • Full face protection (if it is necessary to handle prion material outside the biological cabinet)