Quarantine procedures are used to prevent the introduction of pathogens into a pre-existing population of animals cared for in AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. Quarantine procedures and requirements are defined in AZA Accreditation Standards, and in some cases mandated by local and/or federal regulations. Quarantine protocols require that trained personnel ensure that the introduced animal be kept separate from the population for a set period of time, undergo a complete physical examination and infectious disease testing, and receive all relevant vaccinations.
A separate quarantine facility, with the ability to meet the species behavioral and social needs, should exist so that newly acquired animals are isolated from the established population to prohibit physical contact, prevent disease transmission, and avoid aerosol, aquatic, or drainage contamination. AZA accreditation standards define that this type of quarantine facility is required for primates, small mammals, birds, and reptiles, and attempted wherever possible with larger mammals such as ungulates,carnivores, and marine mammals.
Quarantine for all species should be under the supervision of a veterinarian and consist of a minimum of 30 days unless otherwise directed by the veterinarian. If during the 30-day quarantine period, additional mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish of the same order are introduced into the quarantine area, the 30-day period must be re-initiated.
Keepers should care only for quarantined animals or if necessary, attend quarantined animals only after fulfilling responsibilities for non-quarantined species. Equipment used to feed and clean animals in quarantine should be used only with these animals or must be appropriately disinfected before use with non-quarantine animals. Precautions to minimize transmission of zoonotic diseases should include the use of disinfectant foot baths, protective clothing and masks, the minimization of physical exposure, and participation in a tuberculin testing/surveillance program.
Complete medical records should be obtained for the animal entering quarantine. Once quarantined, a a complete physical and dental examination should be conducted including, fecal and blood testing to assess the animal’s overall health condition, test for Infectious Diseases, and look for gastrointestinal and/or external parasites. Vaccinations should also be updated as appropriate. Release from quarantine is dependent upon repeated normal examination results and the attending veterinarian’s decision.