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Infectra®-kit: A device for restraining mice and confining tsetse flies during trypanosome infection transmission experiments

Ndung’u, Kariuki, Kibugu, James Karuku, Gitonga, Purity Kaari, Thuita, John Kibuthu, Auma, Joanna Eseri, Gitonga, Samuel Kariuki, Ngae, Geoffrey Njuguna, Murilla, Grace Adira
Acta tropica 2013 v.126 no.2 pp. 146-149
Glossina, anesthesia, disease transmission, human resources, humans, laboratory animals, laboratory experimentation, mice, parasites, risk, t-test
Chemical (anaesthesia) and manual techniques are commonly used to restrain mice during vector-mediated parasite transmission experiments in the laboratory. Chemical restraint may interfere with natural fly vector–mouse interactions and therefore potentially affect the outcome of transmission experiments. Conversely, manual restraint is labour-intensive and exposes laboratory animals to excessive restraining-related discomfort. We report development of a mouse restraining device (Infectra®-kit) that allows essential transmission studies to be carried out with minimal human manipulation and without the need for anaesthesia. Infectra®-kit can be used as a single unit for restraining one mouse or as eight-assembled units, thus significantly improving efficiency of a single operator in comparison to manual restraint. The kit was validated by comparing feeding success in tsetse flies fed on mice restrained using Infectra®-kit (Group I) to those manually restrained (Group II). The mean±SE % feeding success was 75.0±8.2% and 82.1±8.2% for tsetse flies in Groups I and II respectively. Statistical analysis using two sample t-test showed no significant difference between the two groups at p≤0.05, indicating that Infectra®-kit as a restraining device was as good as the conventional manual restraint method. The main benefits of using Infectra®-kit for transmission studies therefore include reduction of man-hours and animal restraining-related discomfort. In addition, the risk of accidental injury to laboratory personnel by either mice or tsetse flies is minimized, which is an important consideration when working with zoonotic parasites.