Study shows camels likely carriers of MERS-CoV
The results of the study, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, showed that nasal secretions of the camels provide a likely source of MERS-CoV transmission to individuals who handle the animals.
The study examined three camels that were exposed through the eyes, nose and throat to MERS-CoV isolated from a human patient. The camels developed a mild case of MERS-CoV consistent with what has been observed in the Middle East.
Samples taken from the animals showed high levels of infectious virus in secretions, mostly from their noses, for up to a week after infection. All of the camels quickly recovered from the infections without complications.
The researchers said that vaccinating camels against MERS-CoV could greatly reduce the risk of transmission of the disease to humans and other camels. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other organizations are currently supporting research to develop vaccine candidates to combat the virus.
More than 800 human MERS-CoV cases, including 291 deaths, were reported worldwide by the World Health Organization as of July 23.