Medical Definition of Wet market

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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.

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Reviewed on 10/30/2018

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