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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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Glasgow given £300K funding for Zika research

News Story 1
 Researchers at the University of Glasgow's MRC Centre for Virus Research have been awarded a £300,000 grant to study the Zika virus alongside a research centre at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Brazil.

Zika has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation. It has spread to more than 20 countries in Central and South America and has been linked with microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head) in newborns.

The research teams will study the presence and epidemiology of the virus in Brazil and hope to improve understanding of how the immune system responds to infection. Their work will be used to support vaccine development studies.  

News Shorts
RSA referral scheme 'seeks to erode freedom of choice'

Some of the country's top specialist referral practices have declared they will not be joining the preferred referral network launched by Royal Sun Alliance (RSA) in December.

In a joint letter to the Veterinary Times (Vol 46 No 6), 11 practices state that they will not be joining the scheme because it 'seeks to erode freedom of choice'.

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