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Reverse zoonosis causes concern
Humans must beware of passing flu on to their pets

The concept of reverse zoonosis, in which humans can pass illness on to their pets, is causing concern with the approach of the influenza (flu) season.

Many people do not realise they can not only pass flu on to other humans when they get sick, but also animals, including dogs, cats and ferrets.

Scientists and vets hope to help prevent reverse zoonosis by raising awareness of the issue.

It is well known that animals such as pigs and birds introduce new strains of flu to humans, such as the most recent H1N1 flu strain, however, it is less known that humans have further passed these on to other animals.

There is currently little known about reverse zoonosis by scientists and vets, however researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) and Iowa State University are looking at this type of disease transmission.

"We worry a lot about zoonosis, the transmission of diseases from animals to people," said Christine Loehr, an associate professor at the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. "Any time you have infection of a virus into a new species, it's a concern, a black box of uncertainty.

"We don't know for sure what the implications might be, but we do think this deserves more attention."

Professor Loehr advises that people with flu-like symptoms distance themselves from their pets in future.

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Zoo announces birth of Western lowland gorilla

News Story 1
 A critically-endangered Western lowland gorilla has been born at London Zoo, the Zoological Society of London have announced.

Mum Effie (22) gave birth to a baby boy in the early hours of Wednesday, 25 November. Classed as critically endangered in the wild, Western lowland gorillas are threatened by habitat loss and hunting.

Keepers say that they will leave Effie to bond with the infant, and allow the rest of the troop to familiarise themselves with the new arrival. Image (C) Glynn Hennessy/ZSL 

News Shorts
Major retailers raise their milk prices

Iceland has raised the cost of its milk to 1 for four pints. Lobby group Farmers For Action has revealed that a similar announcement will be made by another major retailer - reported to be Asda according to Farmer's Weekly Farmer's Weekly

. The move follows intense lobbying and protests to address falling milk prices, which have placed huge financial burdens on UK dairy farmers.