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Deadly Coronavirus Found in Camels on Farm of Infected Owner

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The coronavirus that’s killed 71 people was detected in three camels in Qatar, supporting a thesis that the animals may be a source of human infection.

The dromedary camels were identified in a barn about 19 miles northwest of Doha owned by a 61-year-old man who was diagnosed in October with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. A 23-year-old worker was also infected, researchers from Qatar and the Netherlands wrote in The Lancet Infectious Diseases today.

The study is the first to find the virus in camels, though previous research has found evidence they may be spreading the pathogen. Bats have been shown to be a natural reservoir of the virus, suggesting they may be infecting camels, which are passing the virus on to humans. Still, today’s findings don’t prove that theory, the researchers wrote.

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