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Camels likely source of Mers virus in people, according to study

Published on Feb 25, 2014 1:05 PM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A respiratory virus that has killed dozens of people, mainly in the Middle East, is widespread in camels and may be jumping directly from camels to humans, said a study on Tuesday.

Called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or Mers, it has killed 79 of the 182 people infected since Sept 2012, according to the World Health Organisation.

Until now, little was known about its source or how it could be infecting people.

But senior study author Ian Lipkin of Columbia University said research now shows the virus is "extraordinarily common" in camels and has been for at least 20 years.

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