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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
Thieves target nine dogs worth £10k

Police are investigating the theft of nine dogs from outdoor kennels at a property in Bradford, according to a report in the Telegraph and Argus. The three pugs and six French bulldogs belong to a breeder and are estimated to be worth at least £10,000 collectively. Thieves cut through padlocks some time between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday, November 19.

The dogs are aged between four months and four years. One of the female French bulldogs, Mini, has a white marking on her chest and bald patches on her back due to a skin condition which requires daily treatment. Two of the other French bulldogs, Fibi and Kitty, have scars from past caesarians and white markings on their chests. Kitty also has a white narrow stripe on her head.