TUESDAY, April 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Countries should suspend the sale of live wild animals at food markets because they are a leading source of emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19, the World Health Organization says.
In a guidance issued Tuesday, the WHO said wild animals "are the source of more than 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses," CBS News reported.
Some experts suspect the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 originated in bats and was passed to humans through another species sold as food or medicine in traditional "wet markets" in China. COVID-19 was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Wet markets are not unique to China. They are common in many Asian and African nations, and can be found in the United States, too.
Wuhan, the Chinese city thought to have been the originating locale of the COVID-19 pandemic, banned any eating of wild animals about a year ago. The Chinese government has also said it will offer farmers cash incentives to stop breeding exotic species, CBS News reported.
The WHO teamed with the World Organization for Animal Health and the U.N. environment program to develop the new recommendations.