Mers link to camels opens a pandora’s box

Sunday, November 17, 2013
By Paul Martin

Scientists fear mutation of Mers coronavirus from animals to humans
November 16, 2013

Dubai: Earlier this week, medical investigators for the first time have confirmed the Mers coronavirus in a camel, one belonging to a Saudi man also ill with the new virus. The tie has provided a critical clue into the virus’s animal hosts and transmission
The first definitive confirmation of the Mers coronavirus in the camel provides a “missing link” for disease experts, said Henry L. Niman, a microbiologist in Pittsburgh who tracks the Middle East virus and other infectious diseases.
Mers typically causes severe respiratory problems. The virus typically spreads in limited fashion from person to person after appearing in a community, but medical experts have been mystified as to the original source animal.
Owning racing stables or farms with camels and other livestock is popular among Saudi and other Gulf residents with the means to do so. Some, but not all, of the originating human cases in clusters of Mers have been found to have come in contact with camels or other livestock.

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