Scientists: Camels' Noses Could Be Source of MERS

Over 100 people, mostly in Saudi Arabia. have already died of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

Beautiful Camel Competition: But they may be infected. Reuters

Scientists believe that nasal discharge from camels is responsible for transmitting the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to humans, according to new research quoted in Business Standard.

The virus has already been responsible for more than 100 deaths and is currently spreading very rapidly in the Arab world. Saudi Arabia reported 25 new cases on Saturday and the first infected patient was discovered in the United States.

Researchers found that viruses from infected humans and Arabian camels from the same geographical region have nearly identical DNA sequences.

"This indicates transmission between animals and man, a process referred to as zoonosis," said Norbert Nowotny of the Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine in Austria.

Virus levels were surprisingly high in the nasal mucosa and conjunctiva of the camels tested and scientists presume that contact with the mucosa is what transmits the disease to humans.

The implication of the research is that vaccination of camels could be the most effective method of halting the spread of the virus.

The study appeared in the journal Eurosurveillance.