Friday, November 29, 2013

MERS Found in Camels in Qatar

November 29, 2013

Three camels in Qatar have tested positive for MERS. The animals were housed in a barn where two men who previously became ill with the virus had worked.

Both men have recovered from the disease which has killed at least 68 of the 160 confirmed cases worldwide.

The three camels, from a herd of 14, are the first reported MERS cases in animals in Qatar.

Camels have been suspected of carrying the illness and clues to a possible connection continue to be found in the dromedary population. Camels which contained the antibodies to the virus, indicating past exposure, were found in Oman, Egypt and Spain in August.

Saudi Arabia reported a camel and his owner were sick with the virus on November 11 and on November 15, Saudi agriculture officials reported that eight camels had been quarantined which had tested positive for the virus in preliminary tests.

Although camels are suspected of carrying the virus, but most victims have reported no contact with animals. It is unclear at this time if the camels are responsible for infecting humans or if ill humans are spreading the virus to camels, or both.

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