Camels and the Threat of MERS

Blame camels for the persistence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, first identified in a Saudi Arabian man in 2012, says Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP at the University of Minnesota and author of “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.”

MERS is a coronavirus that, like SARS, likely originated with bats. And while SARS evolved from a virus bats passed to rats in China, MERS comes from camels.

Exterminating rodents ended SARS, Osterholm says. But camels have deep cultural and economic value in the Middle East.

“We’re going to be stuck for a long time at least until we get a vaccine,” he says of the virus that has caused at least 700 deaths.

Source: Outbreak News Today Podcast

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