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article imageAnother MERS-camel link

By Tim Sandle     Jun 8, 2014 in Science
Researchers in Saudi Arabia have detected, isolated, and sequenced Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from a camel that matched the virus derived from the animal’s owner.
In February 2014, Digital Journal reported that the coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is widespread in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been probably been around for at least 20 years.
Developing this, in May Digital Journal highlighted research from Columbia University’s Ian Lipkin and his colleagues, who confirmed that MERS-CoV is common in camels living near areas where most of the documented human infections had occurred.
Another report also confirms the camel-cornonavirus connection. According to a paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine, a 44-year-old man who died of a lab-confirmed MERS infection had the same virus as was found in a camel that he owned.
Discussing the connection, Jonathan Ball, a professor of virology at Nottingham University who was not involved in the work, told BBC News: "All the evidence points to camels being the culprit. This is probably the first time the virus sequence is identical and suggests this is a case of transmission."
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is one of the latest problem viruses to have emerged this decade. MERS-CoV is the sixth new type of coronavirus like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). MERS causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It has a 30 percent morality rate.
Saudi Arabia have issued new MERS statistics based on a “rigorous examination” of existing data, according to a Ministry of Health announcement. “Following the review, the new total number of cases recorded in the Kingdom between 2012 and today, is 688.” The announcement goes on to clarify that this includes 282 fatalities.
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