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The Saudi Arabian Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome outbreak may be a bigger problem than originally estimated; the illness has reportedly spread to African countries such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, infecting camels.
MERS has been detected in the majority of the 358 Nigerian camels and 188 Ethiopian camels tested, according to the results of a study published by Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal. The illness has also infected over half of the camels in Tusnia.
According to The Independent, Saudi Arabia has announced a health warning to proceed with caution if dealing with camels. They are advised to wear protective gear such as masks and gloves and to frequently wash hands.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the illness may be older than two years old. “The possibility exists that MERS-CoV illness occurred before its discovery in 2012 and that such infection has been overlooked in the areas with evidence for virus circulation among animals during the past 10 years”, they wrote, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek .
The MERS illness has now infected over 600 people around the world since it first was discovered in 2012.