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STUDY: 56% of wild animals in Vietnam’s restaurants have a coronavirus


Coronavirus contamination rates in rodents in their natural habitat were around 0-2%. By the time the animals hit Wet markets, they had a 32% rate, due to confinement.

PAULA FROELICH: A new report has found an alarmingly high rate of coronaviruses in wildlife about to be served at restaurants in Vietnam. While the country is looking to stop importing imperiled animals to eat, it has yet to do so, and there are still “wildlife restaurants” that have rats, bats, civet cats, snakes, bear, monkeys and pangolins on the menu.

In a study that appears in the pre-print journal bioRxiv, researchers found 56 percent of wild rats were infected with a coronavirus by the time they were ready to be served at restaurants — double from when the animals were first caught.

Coronavirus detection rates in rodent populations sampled in their “natural” habitat were around 0 to 2 percent, jumping to 21 percent by the time they had been caught by traffickers. Due to confinement conditions, by the time the animals hit “wet” markets, they had a 32 percent contamination rate before rising even higher at restaurants, where they are killed and immediately served to diners.

The study was put together by scientists from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Department of Animal Health of the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam National University of Agriculture, EcoHealth Alliance and One Health Institute of the University of California, Davis

It is thought many coronaviruses incubate in animals before “jumping to humans,” as may have happened with the most recent global pandemic. The authors of the report blame stress, confinement, shedding and poor nutrition as contributing factors that result in increased coronavirus rates in animals taken from nature to human restaurants. SOURCE…


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