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New pig virus could be a threat to humans
The next step for researchers is to look for antibodies in the blood of humans, which would suggest the virus has already begun to infect people.
Study shows virus can transmit to people, cats and chickens

A recently discovered pig virus could spread to humans and other animals, a study has shown.

Porcine deltacoronavirus was first detected in pigs in China in 2012 and has since spread to various other countries. It causes acute diarrhoea and vomiting in young infected pigs and can even be fatal.

So far, no human cases have been reported but scientists are concerned about the possibility.

Public health experts are particularly concerned about the emergence of this virus, because of its similarity to the life-threatening viruses responsible for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

New research published online in the journal PNAS suggests that porcine coronavirus could go into the cells of different species, including humans.

Scientists from Ohio State University and Utrecht University looked at a cellular receptor called aminopeptidase N. The potential for a virus to cross species is known to be highly dependent on its ability to bind to receptors on the cells of the animal or human.

They found the virus could bind to the receptor in pigs, but also to cells from humans, cats and chickens.

It is not yet known whether the virus can replicate within the cells and cause disease in these other species. The next step for researchers is to look for antibodies in the blood of humans, which would suggest the virus has already begun to infect people.

Senior author Linda Saif said: “We now know for sure that porcine deltacoronavirus can bind to and enter cells of humans and birds. Our next step is to look at susceptibility – can sick pigs transmit their virus to chickens, or vice versa, and to humans?”

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.