Cholera Found In Turtles At Wet Market In Covid Epicentre Wuhan
The Wuhan Baishazhou wet market in China has been disinfected and shops related to the turtles closed for three days, according to a statement.
(Bloomberg) -- Wuhan detected cholera-causing bacteria in samples taken from softshell turtles at a food market, sparking comparisons among some Chinese social media users to the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Baishazhou wet market has been disinfected and shops related to the turtles closed for three days, according to a statement from local health authorities late on Thursday. No cases of cholera have been found in people who came into contact with the animals, and the strain isn’t related to the case confirmed this week in a Wuhan University student, they said.
Cholera is a virulent illness that’s spread through contaminated food and water and causes acute diarrhea. China classifies it as a ‘Class A’ disease, the strongest designation and one shared by only the bubonic plague, with its detection spurring an emergency response from health officials.
Its discovery at a food market invokes memories of the start of Covid, with initial infections tied to the Wuhan Huanan seafood market and possibly wildlife sold there. While the exact origins of the coronavirus haven’t been determined, the emergence of cholera in the original epicenter of the pandemic comes as China’s health and food-supply systems face unprecedented scrutiny.
A hashtag related to the news had more than 1 million views on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo Friday, with users lamenting they felt like history was repeating itself.
The affected turtles have been killed and health authorities are tracking products from the same batch as the animals, which have been shipped elsewhere. Wuhan said earlier this week that just one case of cholera -- in the university student -- had been found.
Cholera is relatively rare in China, with just five cases detected last year. Most people who are infected will have no or mild symptoms and can be treated with oral re-hydration, though cholera can kill within hours if left untreated, according to the World Health Organization.
China has come under sustained criticism for its refusal to allow open access to scientists trying to identify the true origin of the Covid virus and how it transferred into humans. It rebuffed appeals for an independent investigation and hit out at countries that called for greater transparency, particularly into the role of wet markets. That reluctance has fueled a raft of conspiracy theories about the virus’s genesis, including that it was deliberately released from a laboratory in the central Chinese city.
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