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JustHere | December 3, 2016

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Nationwide testing of animals for MERS virus to begin soon

Following the positive test of Mers-CoV in three camels and a sheep on a farm at Al Shahaniya, the Supreme Council of Health and the Ministry of Environment will conduct a nationwide study and testing of animals, the Gulf Times has reported. Stringent measures will also be carried out for testing animals and birds imported into the country.

The detection of the virus in the animals was linked to the two confirmed human infections reported in October. Both men were employees in the same farm. However, when those in contact with the two confirmed human cases, as well as the other employees in the barn were screened, the laboratory tests for MERS-CoV were negative.

With the nation-wide study, researchers will be able to better understand the mode of transmission between animal-to-person and person-to person.

There have been four MERS deaths in Qatar so far, and a total of 4,323 suspected cases. Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has received about 160 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 68 deaths.

Though there is not enough evidence of the possible transmission of the virus from animals to humans, the WHO has advised to adopt general hygiene practices when visiting a farm such as regular washing of the hands and avoiding contact with sick animals.

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