WHO calls for suspension of sale of live wild mammals in markets

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called for the worldwide suspension of the sale of live wild mammals in food markets because of the high risk of transmitting new infectious diseases to humans.

These animals, <q data-attributes = "{" lang ": {" value ":" fr "," label ":" Français "}," value ": {" html ":" especially wild animals, are the source of over 70% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans and many of them are caused by new viruses "," text ":" especially wild animals, are the source of over 70% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans humans and many of them are caused by new viruses "}}" lang = "en”>especially wild animals, are the source of over 70% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans and many of them are caused by new viruses, emphasizes the WHO, in a joint statement with the World Organization for Animal Health and the UN Environmental Program.

The transmission of the COVID virus to humans by this means is one of the theories favored by experts appointed by the WHO. And in their recent report on the origins of the disease, they pointed out that a market in Wuhan, the Chinese metropolis where the first cases were reported, appears to have been one of the most important points of its release at the end of 2019.

A man in protective gear in the middle of the market.

Wuhan seafood market, where the first cases were reported.

Photo: Reuters / Darley Shen

The disease has since spread around the world and killed more than 2.93 million, according to an AFP count stopped on Monday.

In addition to the suspension of sales, international organizations are calling for improved hygiene and sanitation rules in these traditional markets to reduce both animal-to-human transmission and contagion between traders and customers.

They are also calling for regulations to control the breeding and sale of wild animals that are intended to be sold in markets for human consumption.

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The organizations are also asking to train veterinary inspectors to apply these new rules and to strengthen surveillance systems in order to quickly detect new pathogens and launch information and awareness campaigns for merchants and customers.

There is a risk of transmission to humans who come in contact with saliva, blood, urine, mucus, fecal matter or other fluids from an infected animal, the three organizations point out, explaining that the risk involved in touching a contaminated surface further adds to the danger.

Zoonoses – diseases or infections naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans – constitute a high proportion of all newly identified infectious diseases as well as many existing diseases.

Some diseases, like HIV, start out as zoonoses, but later mutate into strains that are only found in humans. Other zoonoses can cause recurrent outbreaks, such as Ebola virus disease and salmonellosis. Still others, like the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, have the potential to cause global pandemics, emphasizes the WHO on its website.

Not just in China

These traditional markets are not unique to China, although the COVID-19 pandemic has cast a harsh light on Wuhan's markets and the many species of wildlife sold there.

These traditional markets play a central role in providing food and work. to many, many people. Banning the sale of these animals can protect the health of people, both those who work there and those who shop there., underlines the joint press release.

A bat is seen with its mouth open in a human's gloved hand.

Bats are the main suspects in the quest for the origins of the coronavirus.

Photo: Associated Press / Peter Thomson

The markets in this central Chinese metropolis were supplied by numerous livestock farms, where the new coronavirus – most likely originally harbored by a bat – may have been transmitted by an intermediate animal, particularly to breeders. .

In any case, this is the theory favored by the group of international and Chinese experts appointed by the WHO and Beijing to discover the origins of the pandemic. The intermediate animal, if it is he responsible, has not yet been identified.

Other theories are being examined such as transmission through frozen meat of wild animals and part of the international community, which believes that the joint team has not been able to work independently and transparently in China, claims that more attention be paid to the virus leaking from a Wuhan laboratory.

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