Wet market: A live animal market, a common sight in many areas of the world and a source of influenza viruses and other infectious disease agents for human beings. SARS outbreaks have been traced to wet markets in southern China.
Wet markets sell live poultry, fish, reptiles, and mammals of every kind. Animals may stay from days to weeks. Daily introduction of new animals provides optimum conditions for the development of disease agents such as influenza. Add the daily human contacts (including children) with the live animals, and conditions are optimal for the transfer and evolution of infectious disease agents.