Direct evidence that MERS comes from camels: Study
Washington: Researchers have said they found the first direct evidence that the potentially deadly Middle East respiratory virus, or MERS, jumps directly from camels to humans.
The virus has hit Saudi Arabia the hardest, killing 282 people out of 688 infected, according to the Saudi health ministry's latest figures.
MERS has been found elsewhere in the Middle East and in Europe, Asia and North America, brought by travellers who were infected in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
The latest findings in the New England Journal of Medicine are based on a 44-year-old Saudi man who kept a herd of nine camels and who died of MERS in November 2013.
His friends said they witnessed him applying a topical medicine to the nose of one of his ill camels -- four of them were reportedly sick with nasal discharge -- seven days before he himself became stricken with MERS.
Researchers sequenced the virus found in one of the sick camels and the virus that killed the man, and found that their genomes were identical.
"These data suggest that this fatal case of human MERS-CoV infection was transmitted through close contact with an infected camel," said the study led by Tariq Madani at the department of medicine, King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.
Previous research has suggested that the virus has been quite common in camels for at least the past 20 years, and was likely making the jump into humans.
"Although others have shown that dromedary camels may be important reservoirs for MERS coronavirus, this paper from Azhar and colleagues provides the first unequivocal evidence of camel to human transmission of the virus," said W Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for infection and Immunity at Columbia University in New York.
"The challenge now is to determine the extent to which camels or other animals contribute to outbreaks of human disease," said Lipkin, who was not involved in the New England Journal of Medicine study.
MERS is considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that appeared in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.
Like SARS, it appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and a temperature. But MERS differs in that it can cause rapid kidney failure.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Rajasthan: Gujjars revive reservation agitation, block rail track
- J Jayalalithaa sworn-in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
- Dr Subhash Chandra Show: Aspiring for more than what you have!
- ISIS to buy first nuclear weapon from Pak?
- Mumbai: CCTV captures assailant with gun at Film City
- Mathura SSP receives death threat letter, message for PM Modi
- BJP now central pole of Indian politics: Arun Jaitley
- Maharashtra FDA sends Maggi noodles for lab testing
- Watch: Fast N Facts @ 7:30pm
- Haridwar: Hotel Radisson Blu sealed for polluting Ganga
- Delhi: Two killed in road accident in New Ashok Nagar
- Girl in Punjab's Pathankot quit studies for fear of eve-teasing
- Fiji: Floating island restaurant in middle of ocean
- Special: Furious over rising water crisis, people take to the streets
- Reservation issue: Police register case against Bainsla, 20 others
- Goa Board SSC Exam Results 2015 announced
- Rahul Gandhi to pressurise govt to act on one-rank-one-pension issue
- ISIS close to buying nuclear weapon from Pakistan?
- Manohar Parrikar visits forward areas along LoC, reviews security situation
- Credibility of Prime Minister's Office restored by BJP, says Arun Jaitley
- There will be no delay in appointing CIC, CVC: Jitendra Singh
- ISIS justifies raping slave girls, says Michelle Obama is 'worth $40'
- Arvind Kejriwal to highlight AAP govt's 100 days work on Monday
- 'Unhappy' Celina Jaitley asks Sunny Leone to move out?
- BJP's plan for one-year celebration: 200 big rallies, 5,000 public meetings
- IPL 2015 Final: Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings - Preview
- Heatwave leaves 153 dead in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
- CBSE Results 2015: 10th board exam results to be declared on May 27
- IPL 8 Final: We need to be at our best against Mumbai, says Michael Hussey
- Jayalalithaa returns as Tamil Nadu CM: As it happened