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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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Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones to receive Feline Foundation Award

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will this week recognise University of Bristol feline medical specialist, Professor Tim Gruffydd-Jones, BVetMed, PhD, with the 2014 AVMF/Winn Feline Foundation Award.

The AVMA will honour some of the nation's top veterinary surgeons, individuals and organisations during several events and ceremonies. The recipients of the awards are dedicated professionals who have made a difference in the lives of both animals and people across the country and the globe.

The AVMF/Winn Feline Foundation Award is given annually to a distinguished member of the association. It honours the recipient's long-term commitment to advancing feline research.

Professor Gruffydd-Jones has devoted much of his career to feline medicine and has won several other awards for his work, including the BSAVA Woodrow Award. He is interested in all aspects of feline medicine, but particularly infectious diseases, gastroenterology, endocrine disorders and breeding problems.

He was chairman of the Feline Advisory Bureau, now known as International Cat Care, from 1980-2002 and is currently deputy chairman of Cats Protection, the UK's largest cat rescue charity.