Hong Kong Med J 2011;17(Suppl 6):S36-40
Animal reservoirs for SARS-like coronavirus in southern China
H Chen, Y Guan, X Fan
Department of Microbiology, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
1. SARS-coronavirus (SARS- CoV) was of zoonotic origin. Wild animals in live-animal markets in Guangdong province were the most likely intermediate hosts and sources of the outbreak in humans. The natural reservoir and emergence pathway of this virus remain largely unknown.
2. Bats appear to be the natural host for coronaviruses, and play a pivotal role in their ecology and evolution.
3. Live-animal markets may have provided an ecosystem that facilitated interspecies transmission of SARS-CoV in Guangdong province.
4. Long-term surveillance of zoonotic pathogens in both humans and animals is important for the prevention of emerging infectious diseases.