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Reverse zoonosis causes concern
reverse zoonosis concern influenza flu season transmission illness
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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News Shorts
UC Davis welcomes first fellow in small animal infectious disease

Dr. Polina Vishkauutsan has joined the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital as the world's first fellow in small animal clinical infectious diseases.

The fellowship, which lasts for one year, will provide Dr. Vishkautsan with unique training opportunities in both the clinical and microbiology laboratory environments at the VMTH, and will prepare her to persue future career opportunities in academic practice, private practice or industry.

A graduate of Hebrew University's Koret Veterinary School, Dr Vishkauutsan will be taught by infectious disease specialist and Small Animal Clinic Director Dr. Jane Sykes.

Dr. Vishkauutsan said: "I feel very privileged to be able to go through this training programme, "I am learning from the best people in veterinary medicine at a point in my career that otherwise I would not be able to do it again, unless I signed up for another residency."