By politics.co.uk staff
The government has issued advice calling on pregnant women to avoid close contact with sheep.
The strange warning comes as government sources worry about an infection in some ewes during lambing season.
A joint alert from the Department of Health (DoH), the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Health and Safety Executive said all contact with the animals should be avoided during the season.
Pregnant women are being told not to help milk lambs or ewes, to avoid contact with aborted or new-born lambs or with their birthing fluids.
The actual number of reports of human miscarriages resulting from contact with sheep is extremely small, but the government is taking a cautious approach during lambing season.
Pregnant women are being told to seek immediate medical advice if they begin to suffer from fever or influenza-like symptoms.