Blood study suggests camels could be MERS-CoV carriers

Friday, August 9, 2013
By Paul Martin

Lisa Schnirring
CIDRAP News
Aug 08, 2013

Researchers who conducted blood tests on animals from different regions found evidence that camels have been exposed to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) or a very close relative, the outbreak’s first strong clue about a possible animal reservoir.

Until now, the only animal clue has been from genetic sequencing studies, which suggested the virus came from bats. Though there are no reports that any of the patients had contact with bats, a man from the United Arab Emirates who was treated for his fatal infection in Germany had been exposed to a sick racing camel.

The investigators, mostly from the Netherlands and Germany, reported their findings today in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

The first MERS-CoV illness was reported a year ago, and so far 94 cases and 46 deaths have been confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), all of them from or linked to Middle Eastern countries.

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