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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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Cats Protection launches helpline for grieving cat owners

News Story 1
 A free, confidential helpline for grieving cat owners has been launched by Cats Protection.

Supported by online guides and leaflets, the Paws to Listen service offers owners emotional and practical help in coping with the loss of a cat.

The service comes as survey findings reveal that 75 per cent of cat owners believe the public underestimate how much the death of a cat can affect its owner.

For more information visit www.cats.org.uk or to speak to a volunteer on the Paws to Listen phone line, call 0800 024 94 94.  

News Shorts
BVA joins campaign to end rabies by 2030

The BVA is joining the global End Rabies Now campaign which aims to put a stop to the disease by 2030. The announcement has been made to coincide with World Rabies Day (28 December).

Nearly all rabies cases occur as a result of a bite from an infected dog and around half of all dog bites and rabies deaths affect children under the age of 15.

End Rabies Now, which is led by the Global Alliance for Rabies Control, is working to significantly raise the profile of rabies as a global neglected tropical disease. It's three key messages are: vaccinating dogs ends rabies; every rabies death is preventable; and it's possible to end human deaths from canine-mediated rabies by 2030.