THE BACKGROUND

Camels Transmit Deadly MERS Virus To Humans

The MERS coronavirus that has already cost more than 100 human lives is currently spreading very rapidly in the Arab world.

Reuters The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Reuters
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases
news.in.MSN.com

London: Nasal discharge of camels could transmit the deadly Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus to humans, alarming research has indicated.

The MERS coronavirus that has already cost more than 100 human lives is currently spreading very rapidly in the Arab world. [At least three cases have been reported in the U.S.]

The researchers found that viruses from infected humans and Arabian camels from the same geographical region have nearly identical RNA sequences.

“This indicates transmission between animals and man. The process is referred to as zoonosis,” said Norbert Nowotny from Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine in Austria.

For the study, the scientists investigated nasal and conjunctival swabs, taken from 76 camels in Oman.

Virus levels were surprisingly high in the nasal mucosa and conjunctiva of camels.

The transmission pathway from animals to humans most likely occurs through these contact sites, especially through nasal discharge, the scientists presumed.

“Vaccinations of camels are currently being discussed. We will thus be able to halt the spread of the virus,” Nowotny added.

The study appeared in the journal Eurosurveillance.

THE STORY

Saudis Flout MERS Virus Warning
BBc.com

News from elsewhere BBC monitoring By News from Elsewhere…
…media reports from around the world, found by BBC Monitoring

People are taking photos and videos of themselves kissing camels in defiance of a warning from Saudi health authorities not to go near the animals, which have been linked to the deadly Mers virus.

Saudi authorities have told people to wear masks around camels
Saudi authorities have told people to wear masks around camels

In recent days, Saudi Arabia has urged people to wear masks and gloves when dealing with camels, to stay away from raw camel meat and camel milk, and not to go near sick animals, the newspaper Gulf News reports. But some people have refused to listen to the government’s advice, posting videos and sending messages in support of camels.

In one video (below), a man stands between a pair of camels and asks it to sneeze. “Look at me! Sneeze, sneeze! They say there’s Corona in this,” the man says, while hugging and kissing his two camels. Then he shakes one of the camels’ heads and says, “She says no. Is there Corona in you? She says no.”

Meanwhile, a Twitter user with the handle @fheed6666 – who has more than 90,000 followers – tweets to acting Saudi Health Minister Adel M Fakeih: “@adelmfakeih #the_campaign_against_camels_exposed And we call for it to stop or for evidence to be produced because camels are fine and all the ill people are in cities.” An info-graphic circulating on Twitter suggests camels are more valuable than petrol.

Saudi Arabia is the country by far most affected by Mers, with 133 deaths since the virus was detected in 2012. Nearly 500 people in the kingdom have been infected.


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