Becker, A.L. (2005, January 21). Smuggled animals may bring disease. Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy. [Online]. Available: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/biosecurity/ag-biosec/news/jan2105smuggle.html [2008, April 4].
diseases; health; virus; smuggle; United States; imports; ban; customs; zoonotic; monitoring; policy; bushmeat; trade
The next infectious disease to enter the United States might cross the border taped to a traveler's leg or tucked snugly under a tourist's hat.
Smuggling of wild animals has always posed hazards to human health, but the stakes may be getting higher today, given the role of animal hosts in lethal outbreaks such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and avian influenza.
Any country can be one misstep away from an outbreak. Consider these cases:
When a Thai man landed at the Brussels airport Oct 18, 2004, customs agents found two rare eagles in plastic tubes in his suitcase. They looked relatively healthy, but tests showed both had H5N1 avian flu. No human cases of H5N1 were found as a result of the smuggling attempt.
Less than a month later, someone sneaked 28 parrots from Indonesia into Taiwan. Authorities euthanized the intercepted birds, which tested negative for the H5N1 virus, according to postings on the ProMED-mail Web site on Dec. 17, 2004....