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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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Nominations for 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards now open

News Story 1
 People across the UK are being urged to nominate a standout animal champion for the 2019 RSPCA Honours Awards.

The awards recognise those who have worked tirelessly to improve animal welfare, campaigned on behalf of animals, or shown true bravery. Previous winners include comedian John Bishop, who was awarded Celebrity Animal Champion of the Year, and 11-year-old Lobby Cantwell, who raised more than £1,000 for the charity through mountain climbs and bike rides.

To submit a nomination or find out more about the awards visit the RSPCA website. Nominations will remain open until 4 pm on Friday, March 15.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New £1m project to investigate dairy cow lameness

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is leading a new £1 million research project to investigate the causes of lameness in dairy cows.

One in three dairy cows are affected by lameness every day in the UK, costing the industry an estimated £250 milion annually.

The project will take three years to complete and is due to finish by November 2021.

Professor Georgios Banos of SRUC commented: “In addition to pain and discomfort to the animal, lameness is associated with decreased milk production and inflated farm costs.

“Among cows raised in the same environment, some become lame while others do not. Understanding the reasons behind this will help us develop targeted preventive practices contributing to enhanced animal welfare and farm profitability.”