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Monkeypox patients urged to avoid contact with pet rodents
"No cases of monkeypox have ever been suspected or reported in pets in the UK and the risk remains low" - CVO Christine Middlemiss.

The UKHSA has raised concerns that the virus could get into domestic animals.

Pet owners who develop monkeypox are being advised to avoid close contact with their animals for three weeks.

An assessment by the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) stressed that while the risk to humans remains very low, hamsters, guinea pigs and other rodents could acquire the virus from their owners and spread it to other wild rodents.

According to the government, no cases have been found in pets so far, and the risk to the human population remains minimal.

Speaking to BBC News, Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, said: "The worry is the virus could get into domestic animals and essentially ping-pong between them and humans. If you are not careful you might create an animal reservoir for the disease that could result in it spreading back into humans, and we'll be in a loop of infection."

On Friday (27 May), the UKHSA announced 16 more monkeypox cases in England, bringing the total number of patients to 101. There are also three cases in Scotland, one in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.

The guidance recommends pet rodents that have been in close contact with an infected human should be isolated for 21 days and removed for testing. It states that other pets, such as cats and dogs, should be maintained 'under household isolation with regular vet checks to ensure no clinical signs are observed.'

England's chief veterinary officer, Christine Middlemiss, said: "No cases of monkeypox have ever been suspected or reported in pets in the UK and the risk remains low. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with veterinary and public health colleagues, both in the UK and across the world, to manage the animal health associated risks with monkeypox."

Separate advice published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control last week states that rodents 'should ideally be isolated in monitored facilities, complying with respiratory isolation and animal welfare conditions and tested for exposure before quarantine ends.

It adds that euthanasia should only be a 'last resort reserved to situations where testing and/or isolation are not feasible'. Other pets can continue to quarantine at home so long as they receive regular veterinary checks.

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit