A marketplace selling live fish, poultry, reptiles and a variety of mammals and other perishable goods compared to dry markets that sell durable goods such as fabric and electronics.
Some wet markets slaughter animals on site. The COVID-19 pandemic popularised the term “wet market” when the source of the SARS-CoV-19 infection was traced back to a wet market in Wuhan China called the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. It had a wild animal section where live and slaughtered species were for sale including snakes, beavers, porcupines, and baby crocodiles, among other animals.
The daily introduction of new wild animals provides optimum conditions for the development of pathogens such as influenza. Add daily human contacts (including children) with the live animals, and conditions are ripe for the transfer and evolution of pathogens that go on to infect humans. SARS outbreaks have been traced to wet markets in southern China.