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MERS virus widespread in Saudi Arabian camels
Date:2/24/2014

rus were seen in camel serum samples dating back to 1992, which strongly suggests that either MERS-CoV or a closely related virus has been circulating in the Saudi Arabian animals for at least two decades.

The researchers also found that active virus was frequently detected in nasal swabs in 35% of young camels and 15% of adult camels countrywide. It was less frequently found in rectal swabs and not in blood, indicating that the virus most likely is spread by respiratory secretions.

While they speculate that camels are potential reservoirs for human transmission, the authors say the current study does not prove that. "Our findings suggest that continuous, longer-term surveillance will be necessary to determine the dynamics of virus circulation in dromedary camel populations."

Lead authors for the paper were Abdulaziz Alagaili of King Saud University and the Saudi Wildlife Authority in Riyadh and Thomas Briese of Columbia University.


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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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