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The Wuhan Coronavirus spreading in China has been linked to being started in wet markets. Wet markets are outdoor stalls that are close together to form narrow walk paths, where locals and visitors can purchase cuts of meat and ripe produce. Picture a vendor selling hundreds of caged chicken next to a butcher counter, where uncooked meat is chopped and as nearby stray dogs watch hungrily waiting for a piece, and seafood vendor displaying many locally caught fish.

The issue with wet markets are people, live, and dead animals are put in close contact with one another. This makes it easy for the virus to jump from animals to humans. Coronaviruses are zoonotic diseases, this means they first spread to people from animals. Sources are saying that Snakes — the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra — may be the original source of the newly discovered coronavirus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China this winter.

Wuhan Coronavirus Geek Impulse
A wet market in Beijing on July 3, 2007. Teh Eng Koon/AFP via Getty

On Wednesday, authorities in Wuhan, China banned the trade of live animals at wet markets. Officials believe the outbreak had originated from the Huanan Seafood Market. “When you bring animals together in these unnatural situations, you have the risk of human diseases emerging,”  Kevin Olival, a disease ecologist and conservationist at the EcoHealth Alliance, told National Geographic. “If the animals are housed in bad conditions under a lot of stress, it might create a better opportunity for them to shed virus and to be sick.”

The coronavirus that emerged from there has killed 17 people and infected nearly 550 people so far. A 61 year old man was the first person to die from the virus. He was a regular shopper at the Huanan wet market. Reports have indicated that before the Huanana market closed, vendors were selling processed meats and live consumable animals.

Police in Wuhan have begun conducting checks to help enforce the ban on trade of live animals at wet markets. This intervention will hopefully stop the spread of zoonotic viruses like the Wuhan Coronavirus.

Since December, 544 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been reported across six countries, including the US. Symptoms include sore throats, headaches, and fevers, as well as pneumonialike breathing difficulties. This causes the virus to go unnoticed and fuel the outbreak.

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