Mers in Saudi: Camel and owner go viral
Camels have been suspected as an animal source of MERS-CoV. [cidrap]
In the first case of an animal infected with the coronavirus that has killed 64 people worldwide, the Saudi government said on Monday that a camel has tested positive for Mers.
The owner of the camel was diagnosed with the disease He “tested positive in preliminary laboratory checks,” the health ministry said in a statement carried by SPA state news agency.
To expand on further research the ministry of agriculture and laboratories plan to "isolate the virus and compare its genetic structure with that of the patient's".
If the virus carried by the owner and the camel "prove to be identical, this would be a first scientific discovery worldwide, and a door to identify the source of the virus," it added.
Researchers narrowed the virus sources down to Arabian camels as possible hosts of the Sars-like virus, which has hit hardest in the desert kingdom. To date, 53 people have died from the disease.
Similar to Sars, Mers causes a lung infection which causes patients to suffer from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty. The key differentiator is that Mers causes rapid kidney failure and is associated with an extremely high death rate.
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