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Wildlife species sold in wet markets in China were linked to the emergence of SARS and COVID-19. Now a comprehensive survey of viral pathogens has found they harbor a range of diseases threatening humans and other animals.

A study of more than a dozen species of game animals traded, sold and commonly consumed as exotic food in China identified 71 mammalian viruses, including 18 deemed “potentially high-risk” to people and domestic animals. Civets, the cat-like carnivores implicated in the spread of severe acute respiratory virus in markets in southern China almost 20 years ago, carried the most worrisome microbes, according to the research, released Friday.

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