Monday, November 11, 2013

Saudi Camel and Owner Test Positive for MERS

November 11, 2013

A Saudi camel and its owner have both tested positive for MERS
A camel has tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, the Saudi government reported today. The camel was owned by a man who had also been proven to be infected with the virus.

This is the first case of infection discovered in camels. In August of this year, camels were shown to carry antibodies to the virus but no active infections were present.

Researchers are comparing the genetic structure of the virus found in the camel to those carried by humans. If it proves to be a perfect match, it could provide important clues to the source of the human infections which have baffled scientists.

According to the Saudi Health Ministry, if they are genetically identical, "this would be a first scientific discovery worldwide, and a door to identify the source of the virus,"

More research on the spread of this mysterious disease is needed as many of the infected had no contact with camels or other animals. 

It is known that MERS, like its cousin SARS, evolved in bats. Genetic research has shown that the virus has repeatedly infected humans from some unknown intermediary source.

Scientists suspect that Saudi Arabia may host an 'unknown reservoir' of the deadly corona virus which can cause symptoms similar to pneumonia in addition to renal failure. It has shown to be particularly dangerous to the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions.

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