Image Source: The WallStreet Journal
Zoonotic diseases are the ones that will affect humans, but they first appear in other animals. They represent a large share of human infectious illnesses.
Christian Walzer is an executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s health program. He told the Associated Press the increase of such diseases may be a “numbers game.” If these markets still operate and humans still eat the meat sold there, then the general public will still face a heightened risk from new viruses.
Researchers haven't yet identified the precise source for this latest outbreak. One of the primary measures Wuhan officials took was to shut the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, where 41 of the primary infections began.
Jon Epstein is an expert on the spread of diseases with the Ecohealth Alliance. He helped with efforts to seek out the virus that caused the 2002 epidemic referred to as SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The epidemic sickened quite 8,000 people and killed about 800. They linked the disease to eating the meat of untamed animals carrying the virus.
Epstein said researchers suspect but haven't proven that the Wuhan virus came from bats. Bats are known to hold coronaviruses, but scientists have yet to completely understand the new virus and the way it moved from animals to people.