Regulating hygiene, or veterinary requirements for the trade and consumption of wild animals, might be a more effective strategy. This would also provide insight into the potential sources of danger.
Risk grids to identify hotspots
The World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) has worked with scientists from Hong Kong to develop a tool to assess wildlife markets for future risks of zoonotic outbreaks. The risk matrix, published in the One Health scientific journal, will initially be used to analyze wildlife markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The sales situation in the respective market and the animal species or the number of wild animals traded are taken into account.
The team surveyed 46 wildlife markets in Laos and Myanmar. They showed a high zoonotic risk on about half of the days when the researchers made their observations.
It is clear that there are wildlife markets that always seem to have a high risk of zoonosis, said Stefan Ziegler, Senior Conservation Advisor Asia for the WWF and one of the authors of the study.