BANGKOK (DPA) – The coronavirus pandemic has brought worldwide attention to the risk of zoonoses – infectious diseases that can spread from one animal to another. WWF has now worked with scientists from two universities in Hong Kong to develop a risk matrix for the threats to zoonoses.
The aim is to analyze wild animal markets in Asia, as in Wuhan, China, where the first known coronavirus cases emerged. When measuring the amount of risk, both the type and number of wild animals traded and the position of sale are taken into account.
This method was initially used in 46 wildlife markets in Laos and Myanmar. RESULTS: A high risk of transmission of zoonoses was found in about half the days of observation.
On the occasion of World Zoonosis Day (July 6), one of the authors and WWF Asia advisor, Stephen Ziegler, warned, “Our sample study already suggests that there are wild animal markets that clearly always have high zoonosis risk. Huh.” The study was published in the journal “One Health.”
According to the WWF, millions of wild animals are traded in the region each year for food or for use in traditional medicine. In addition to wild boar and deer, these are often rodents and bats, which are known to be a reservoir for a large number of pathogenic agents.
“An end to the illegal and unregulated wildlife trade is as important as monitoring wildlife markets, wildlife farms and restaurants where meat from wild animals is offered,” a statement from the environmental organization said. However, the competent authorities who oversee business and enforce applicable law are severely underfunded in many places.
“The WWF recognizes that the consumption of game meat plays an important cultural and partly nutritional role,” said Ziegler of the German Press Agency. Roasted venison and venison are also eaten in Germany. “However, trade in these products is subject to strict veterinary requirements.”
Epidemic prevention is a global task, and therefore the international community should provide targeted assistance in building national capacities for epidemic prevention, according to WWF. The Risk Grid can help reduce risk in the legal trade of wild animals.
There are about 200 zoonoses known around the world so far. They range from rabies and tuberculosis to SARS, swine fever and borreliosis.