MERS Not New to Camels

MERS virus continues to be a puzzle that scientists are racing to put together. The latest piece of the MERS puzzle is camels and it dates back for 20 years.  MERS virus has now been confirmed in 189 people, 82 of which died from the disease. While MERS remains a virus that has only been linked to the Middle East, it has the potential to spread outside the region. Recent research shows that MERS virus is more prevalent than was originally thought. The study done by researchers working in Saudi Arabia, the NIH and Columbia studied over 200 camels from across Saudi Arabia. They found that 74% of the camels had been infected with MERS virus. By looking at preserved samples, they were also able to find evidence of MERS virus in camels back to 1992. This report should caution people in the Middle East that work with camels to stay safe from this deadly disease.

Original article in mBio.

 

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