Respiratory virus found in camels in Qatar

Last updated 07:15 30/11/2013

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Health officials say they have found a mysterious respiratory virus in a herd of camels in Qatar linked to two human cases of the disease.

In a statement today, the World Health Organisation said Qatari and Dutch scientists found three camels infected with MERS, a respiratory virus related to SARS, in a herd of 14 animals. Two men who both had contact with the camels later fell ill with MERS; both survived.

Scientists have previously found traces of antibodies to viruses similar to MERS in camels but finding MERS in camels connected to human cases has proven elusive. Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia said it had found MERS in one camel.

Since it was first identified last year, WHO has recorded 160 MERS cases, mostly in the Middle East.

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- AP

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