Coronavirus is still spreading throughout the globe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), coronavirus is part of a family of multiple viruses common in many species of animals, including bats, camels, cows and cats. These viruses, including coronavirus, SARS, and MERS, can then be transferred to humans.
Scientists have now traced the source of the virus to pangolins. As humans continue to interact with animals, destroying habitats and getting closer to animals, the spread of disease becomes commonplace. Viruses can mutate in the spread from humans to animals, making them dangerous to both. A common path to infection is if a human eats an infected butchered animal. The virus then easily passes human to human. In Wuhan, 31 of 33 positive samples of the coronavirus came from the section of the market that held wildlife.
SARS and Coronavirus are only some of what could be many diseases that endanger humans. Robert Webster, an expert on influenza viruses at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, told the Washington Post, ” There’s a vast number of viruses in the animal world that have not spread to humans, and have the potential to do so.”
Viruses passing between animals and humans has become increasingly common. Science writer David Quammen spoke to NPR about viruses’ transfer from animals to humans. Quammen said, ” When there’s an animal host, then it becomes much, much more difficult to eradicate or even control an infectious virus. This novel coronavirus — whether or not it turns out to be a huge catastrophe, or something we can control — one thing we know is that it won’t be the last.”
He spoke about habitat destruction and humans “disrupting” all areas of the planet. Quammen said, “We humans are so abundant and so disruptive on this planet. … We’re cutting the tropical forests. We’re building work camps in those forests and villages. We’re eating the wildlife. You go into a forest and you shake the trees — literally and figuratively — and viruses fall out.”
You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.
Catch up on our coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:
- How Coronavirus and the Wildlife Trade are Linked
- Coronavirus Update: Pangolins Blamed for Spreading Virus
- Chinese Citizens Being Ordered to Dispose of Pets Despite Any Connection with Coronavirus Outbreak
- China Acts on Coronavirus and Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade
- Coronavirus Update: Chinese Citizens Begin Disposing of Pets, Footage of Corpses Lining Street
- Coronavirus Update: Indonesians Called to Stop Eating Bats and Animal Activists Saving Pets in China
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