Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several animals have been earmarked as potential reservoirs, including camels, bats, and goats. A new study supports camels as a zoonotic reservoir.
Researchers inoculated camels with MERS. The camels did not show major clinical complications from MERS. The camels shed large quantities of MERS virus from the upper respiratory tract. The virus develops in the upper respiratory tract. Infectious viral particles were in nasal secretions for up to seven days after the inoculation; viral RNA appeared in nasal secretions for up to thirty-five days post-inoculation.
MERS has been found in nasal swabs of camels from a farm where the human owners had MERS. This information is useful in light of the efforts to develop a vaccine, developed by the NIH, which may be given to camels to limit the spread of the disease.