Dr. Robert Breiman is an MD and a professor of Global Health and Infectious Diseases at Emory University. He was previously based in Bangladesh and Kenya with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led investigations and response to a number of major outbreaks. Dr. Breiman is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. The opinions expressed in the commentary are those of the author. View more opinions on CNN. (CNN)Early in the SARS outbreak, some 17 years ago, I was in Beijing and Guangzhou with an international team of scientists assembled by the World Health Organization. In live animal markets, the civet cat was a commodity.The mammal, which resembles a mongoose more than a cat, is a culinary delicacy in China and was believed to have health benefits. Civets are shy animals and avoid humans and other animals. Urbanization and deforestation had threatened civets and put them in closer contact with the horseshoe bat, which was shown to carry the SARS virus. After a long investigation, civets were determined to have caused the SARS outbreak. As the intermediate host, civets spilled the virus over to one or more humans while the horseshoe bat was believed to have

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