July 9. 2007

Mice die in Purdue lab after climate control malfunction

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University officials have reported that 45 mice died Friday (July 6) from heat stress when a climate control system malfunctioned in the laboratory in which they were housed.

The mice were housed in a first-floor room of the Life Science Animal Building, said William Ferner, a veterinarian and director of Purdue's Laboratory Animal Program.

Recommended room temperatures for the mice is 64 to 75 degrees, but room temperature climbed above 102 degrees in the room sometime Thursday night and into Friday morning.

An animal facility staff member arrived Friday morning and discovered the problem. A malfunctioning valve on the air-handling unit was found to be the cause, said Mark Wilson, zone leader for operations and maintenance.

Department staff moved the remaining mice to another room, while workers replaced the control valve, Wilson said.

The university is in the final stages of installing sensors and a monitoring alarm in all facilities housing animals.

Wilson said the only portion of the project remaining is to complete installation and testing phone lines for the system.

The system will automatically alert staff if there are any power losses or malfunctions in climate control equipment.

Purdue officials alerted the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International, through which the university's animal facilities are accredited, and the Office for Laboratory Animal Welfare.

Writer: Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Contact: Jeanne Norberg, (765) 494-2084, jnorberg@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

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