Authorities in China have imposed a temporary ban on the trade of wild animals and quarantined wildlife breeding centers after tracing the deadly coronavirus outbreak to a wildlife market in the city of Wuhan. While initial reports suggested the virus originated in snakes, researchers now say the virus most closely resembles a bat virus, and that it spread to other species before affecting humans. In 2002, researchers found the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, started in bats and spread to humans via palm civets (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) sold in Chinese food markets.
“Studies have shown that SARS-type coronaviruses reside naturally in bats but can easily jump to other hosts, mutating along the way, especially in markets where species, including humans, mingle,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
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