Animals at the Market
Animal health is linked to human health. Most viruses that infect humans are zoonotic—they originated in other animals. Influenza, Ebola, Zika, HIV and SARS are just a few of the over 800 known zoonotic viruses that cause human diseases. From industrial farms to live-animal markets, animals kept in crowded environments can easily spread influenza and other viruses. A crowded market scene featuring taxidermy specimens and models of wild animals provides a look at how spillover opportunities increase in scale and scope in an urban setting. In some countries, animals of different species are caged stacked or close together in live markets. Many of these animals never ordinarily meet in the wild. This creates opportunities for viruses to jump from one species to another. This market scene is on display in the new exhibition, “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World,” at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History through 2021.
Credit information: James Di Loreto, Lucia RM Martino & Fred Cochard, Smithsonian.