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Green monkeys 'acquired S. aureus from humans'
green monkey
Transmission is believed to have occurred as a result of bacteria being transferred from human hands to food that was then given to monkeys.
Transmission event traced back 2,700 years 

Scientists have discovered that green monkeys in The Gambia acquired Staphylococcus aureus from humans on numerous occasions, dating back as far as 2,700 years.

Strains of S. aureus were isolated from the noses of healthy monkeys and compared with those isolated from humans in similar locations.

Co-author Mark Pallen from Warwick Medical School said the team used a technique known as high-throughput sequencing, which showed the monkeys "had acquired S. aureus strains from humans on multiple occasions."

The majority of S. aureus found in monkeys were part of a group with common ancestors, which appear to have been transmitted from humans 2,700 years ago. Two of the most recent transmission events are thought to have taken place three decades ago and seven years ago.

Transmission is believed to have occurred as a result of bacteria being transferred from human hands to food that was then given to monkeys.

Co-author Dr Martin Antonio from the Medical Research Council Unit, Banjul, who led the work in The Gambia, explained: "Although wild, these monkeys are accustomed to humans, who often feed them peanuts."

Over the past few generations, rising levels of human intrusion in wild ecosystems, coupled with increasing travel, has led to the acquisition and spread of diseases including HIV and Lyme disease.

Prof Pallen concluded: "As humans encroach ever more steadily into natural ecosystems, the risk increases that pathogens will be transmitted from humans to animals, or vice versa."

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”