Scientists find mystery virus in camels in Qatar

November 29, 2013

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 on Friday, the World Health Organization said Qatari and Dutch scientists found three infected with MERS, a 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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