China To Become Breeding Ground For New Viruses
CHINA BREEDING GROUND FOR VIRUSES – Amidst the Wuhan virus outbreak, scientists and researchers believe that due to lax laws on wildlife trade, China could continue to breed new viruses.
In 2005, China was hit with one of the biggest epidemics of the 21st century, the SARS virus. The deadly virus was traced back to bats and civets cats which the Chinese traffic for consumption.
This time, the new Wuhan Coronavirus was believed to have come from bat soup that was rampant among residents. Health officials believed that the outbreak started at a food market in Wuhan.
There, several illegal animal products were offered from rats to giant salamanders, bats, and even wolf puppies. The consumption of these potential virus hosts is what’s believed to have caused the outbreak.
In an article posted on ABS-CBN, the so-called “bushmeat” trade, along with human encroachment on wild habitats are what brings humans closer to animal viruses.
According to Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, a global NGO focused on infectious disease prevention, there are 1.7 million undiscovered viruses in wildlife.
In addition, nearly half of those viruses could be potentially harmful to humans. With this, Daszak said that we could expect five new animal-borne pathogens to infect humanity each year.
Following this, Diana Bell, wildlife disease and conservation biologist at the University of East Anglia who studied SARS, Ebola and other pathogens said:
For the sake of these wild species’ future, and for human health, we need to reduce consumption of these wild animals.
But, 17 years on, apparently that hasn’t happened.
Consumption of wild-meat itself is not particularly dangerous. Once the host is killed, most viruses die along with it.
However, pathogens could jump to humans during the capture, transportation, or slaughter of animals. This is more emphasized if sanitation is poor or proper protective equipment was not used.
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