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Life

Wildlife trade poses long-term health threat in pandemic era

Disease and viruses are fated to recur

Wildlife for sale last year at a market in Khammouane Province, Laos. (Courtesy of WWF-Greater Mekong)

CHIANG MAI, Thailand -- COVID-19 has been conquered. But its passing reignites the trafficking of pangolin, monkeys and other wildlife. A back-alley eatery in China features bear paws and fried civet on its menu. Mink and fox farms thrive again. And not long after another hitherto unknown virus appears, spreading as wide as COVID-19 and taking an even deadlier toll.

This is the worst case, but still a possible scenario foreseen by scientists, medical researchers and wildlife monitors who point to the long roll call of diseases -- from the Black Death to the Spanish flu, SARS and COVID-19 -- that have been transmitted from animals to humans.

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