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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
Deadly spider found in supermarket bananas

A family has been left traumatised after finding the world's deadliest spider in one of their shopping bags. The Brazilian wandering spider - whose bite can kill within two hours - was found in a home delivery from Waitrose.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the customer, who has been identified only as Tim, found the spider while unpacking bananas and managed to identify its species online. A sac containing hundreds of spider eggs was also found.

Brazilian wandering spiders are usually found in South America and appear in the Guinness World Records as the world's most venomous spider.

The RSPCA and the police both said they were unable to help deal with such a dangerous animal, according to the Mail on Sunday's report. Pest control expert Steve Trippett was called in and succeeding in killing the eggs by freezing them and trapping the spider, which became aggressive.