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Zika in primates ‘raises risk of human outbreaks’
Mosquito
Zika is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.

Experts assess likelihood of disease entering primate populations

The Zika virus could be transmitted to primates in areas where Zika infections are prevalent, a leading expert has warned.

According to ScienceNews, disease ecologist Barbara Han said that if Zika spreads to primates, the animals could serve as a reservoir for human outbreaks.

This would make it almost impossible to get rid of the virus, she cautioned.

Ms Han was speaking at the American Society for Microbiology Biothreats meeting, which took place in Washington (6-8 February). She and her colleagues assessed the likelihood of Zika entering primate populations in South America using criteria such as body size, diet and species range.

On their list of at-risk species is the black-striped capuchin monkey and the common marmoset - both of which have already tested positive for Zika virus matching the human strain.

‘The finding indicates the spill-back has already started,’ reports ScienceNews.

Capuchin monkeys are particularly at risk, experts say, due to their close proximity with humans. 

Zika is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito and can be passed from a pregnant women to her foetus. Infections during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects, such as an abnormally small head. 

In November, the World Health Organisation declared that Zika was no longer a global emergency. However, Zika virus and its associated consequences still remain a significant challenge to public health.

 

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HM The Queen opens new centre for elephant care

News Story 1
 HM The Queen, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, has officially unveiled ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s brand new Centre for Elephant Care.

Set amidst 30 acres of rolling paddocks, the custom-designed Centre for Elephant Care is the new home for the Zoo’s herd of nine Asian elephants.

The Centre will provide more than 700m² of indoor space and contains an array of elephant-friendly features, including dimming lights to mimic night-time and one metre-deep soft sand flooring.  

News Shorts
New manual to help producers use medicines responsibly

A new manual to help sheep and beef producers use medicines responsibly has been published by AHDB Beef & Lamb.

The Better Returns Programme manual, Using Medicines Correctly for Better Returns, outlines the key principles when using medicines on the farm.

It includes making sure the medicine and correct dose is used at the right time, and that it is stored and administered correctly. It also explains the importance of using antibiotics and anthelmintics responsibly to avoid the build up of resistance.