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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 series shares recipes for pet-safe festive treats

News Story 1
 Battersea has launched a new Christmas baking series across all it's social media channels, to teach owners how to make pet-safe treats for dogs and cats.

The two-part series will show dog owners how to make Christmas dog treats using xylitol-free peanut butter and banana. Meanwhile, cat owners will be taught how to use rolled oats and turkey to make a festive snack for their pet.

Battersea also reminds pet owners of the importance of insuring that animals maintain a healthy balanced diet and adds that these food items should only be given as a treat.

To view the series, please visit Battersea's YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Image (c) Battersea. 

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APHA confirms eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England

The Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) has identified an eighth case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 in poultry in England.

Confirmed on Tuesday (15 December), the outbreak was found in captive birds and poultry at a premises near Willington, South Derbyshire. A 3km Protection Zone and a 10km Surveillance Zone have been placed around the infected premises to limit the risk of the disease spreading.

Further information about the outbreaks and the latest government advice can be found at