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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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Zoo celebrates arrival of four dwarf crocs

News Story 1
 Whipsnade Zoo are celebrating the arrival of Four West African dwarf crocodiles - the first to hatch in 18 years!

Zookeepers say the reptiles, which measure just eight inches long, are already exploring their tropical enclosure and pool within the Zoo's Butterfly House.

Classified as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the crocs will be added to the European Studbook (ESB) for West African dwarf crocodiles.  

News Shorts
Endurance horses tests positive for banned substance

The FEI has provisionally suspended athlete Nayef Al Fayez for two months following the discovery of a banned substance in his horse.

Samples taken from endurance horse Obama Al Aswad returned positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone, as well as three other controlled medications.

The horse, who finished second place at a race in May, has also been provisionally suspended for a two-month period.