9 August 2013
Scientists studying a deadly virus say they are closer to finding its source. Research suggests that camels could be responsible for passing Middle East Respiratory Syndrome - or MERS - to humans. The study is published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases.
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This deadly virus first emerged in the Middle East last year. So far, it's infected nearly 100 people, killing about half of them - and scientists have been striving to understand how it spreads.
Now tests have revealed that dromedary camels in Oman and the Canary Islands have signs of the virus in their blood. Scientists have found antibodies that show that the animals were once infected with the Mers virus, or one that's very similar.
This, though, doesn't offer definitive proof that camels are reservoirs for the disease. For that, scientists need to look at animals from the country where the virus is most prevalent - Saudi Arabia - to see if they carry the infection. Researchers say confirming the source of the virus is a priority and will be crucial for halting its spread.
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making a great effort
goes from one person to another
substances which are a part of blood and which help to protect against diseases
most important consideration, task to be dealt with first