llergy to rodent proteins is common among laboratory animal workers. Sensitive methods to measure exposure to these allergens have been developed. These assays are, however, expensive, time-consuming, and require a laboratory facility and methodological expertise. A simple method to screen for allergen spread, or to test whether hygiene standards are maintained, would be useful. Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) are especially suited for field settings; the tests are simple and results are visible within minutes. LFIAs were developed for detection of the rodent urinary allergens Mus m 1 and Rat n 1. Pilot studies were performed in animal facilities in three countries using both extracts from airborne dust samples and samples collected by wiping surfaces. For comparison and determination of sensitivity, the concentrations of rodent urinary allergens in the samples were also measured using enzyme immunoassays (EIAs). The LFIAs for rat and mouse urinary allergens had a detection limit of 31 pg allergen per mL in a buffer system with purified allergen standards. Results of environmental dust extracts tested in LFIAs correlated well with levels obtained using EIAs. Spread of rodent allergens, or non-adherence to hygiene around laboratory animal facilities, may aggravate rodent allergy. Using a simple, sensitive one-step assay, allergens can be detected to prevent allergen exposure. The results reveal that the rapid assays are suited for on-site demonstration of exposure to rodent allergens, and thus, useful in occupational hygiene practice.
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