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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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New approach to newt conservation in Woking

News Story 1
 Habitats for great crested newts will be enhanced or created by Woking Borough Council prior to any development taking place. This will join up existing populations, making them healthier and more resilient.

A new organisational licence for the council will allow it to authorise operations that may affect great crested newts on development of sites. For more information see Natural England's website

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Rainer Theuer  

News Shorts
New head of Bristol Vet School announced

Richard Hammond has been appointed head of the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences.

Professor Hammond will take up the position on 1 August 2016, combining his role with his position of chief executive of Langford Vets.

Qualifying as veterinary surgeon in 1991, Richard has experience across clinical, academic and commercial sectors having previously been a specialist in the area of veterinary anaesthesia and an academic clinician.