Scientists prove deadly human Mers virus also infects camels
LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have proved for the first time that the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) virus that has killed 71 people can also infect camels, strengthening suspicions the animals may be a source of the human outbreak.
Researchers from the Netherlands and Qatar used gene-sequencing techniques to show that three dromedary, or one-humped camels, on a farm in Qatar where two people had contracted the Mers coronavirus (CoV) were also infected.
The study, published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal on Tuesday, confirms preliminary findings released by Qatari health officials last month. Camels are used in the region for meat, milk, transport and racing.
But the researchers cautioned it is too early to say whether the camels were definitely the source of the two human cases - in a 61-year-old man and then in a 23-year-old male employee of the farm - and more research is needed.