The Saudi MOH announced 1 new MERS case in Riyadh, and in a statement published on the MOH site, again warned that (particularly young) camels posed an infection risk, and emphasized the need for better hospital infection control and reporting.
While camel contact appears responsible for only a small percentage of overall human infections (see Dr. Tariq Madani: 97% Of MERS Cases From Human-to-Human Transmission), it is believed responsible for continually re-seeding the virus into the community, and sparking new chains of human-to-human transmission.
If you can halt (or greatly reduce) camel-to-human transmission, you could conceivably prevent many human infections downstream.
But For many Saudis, the idea that camels – a beloved national symbol that literally made settlement of that arid region possible – could carry a disease deadly to humans, is simply unthinkable. A concept made even harder to accept due to the widespread belief in the healthful effects of camel’s milk and urine in the treatment of disease.
Here is the (syntax challenged, machine translated) Saudi Statement, after which I’ll return with a bit more.
26 May 1436
Dr. Abdulaziz bin Said, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for public health, the head of the command and control center, stressed the importance of commitment to implement infection control infectious diseases in general mechanisms, and a focus on respiratory viruses, including HIV (Corona) in health facilities, which have been adopted and disseminated to all Directorates of Health Affairs in the provinces and regions, as part of the center's efforts to tackle infectious diseases, and to continue to pursue the ministry to establish and support of all the factors to reduce the epidemic diseases in the UK.
This came during a meeting of the center, which was held on Tuesday, the league, adding that his ministry will not tolerate in the application of sanctions against those who tolerate the commitment to infection control procedures, and has shown that he was at the meeting reviewing infected everyday situations virus (Corona), and the action taken thereon, has participated in the meeting, scientists from the disease control and prevention center in the United States who are currently in the UK to assist in the epidemiological investigation for HIV research procedure (Corona), to answer the many questions about the risk factors for HIV.
And demanded the Ministry of Health to reduce contact with camels, especially a newborn, and that are less than two years, where the study of the camel recently conducted in the United Arab Emirates have shown that 96% of the camels were positive for anti-virus (Corona) (more than 800 samples), and the vast Great camels that carry the live virus capable of transmitting the infection were age under two years, explaining that, based on these results, the separation of a small camel for mothers delay to the end of the second year may reduce the likelihood of communion between man and small camel infectious; as the mixing of these Camel often begin after separation from their mothers.
As camels grow older, they develop antibodies to MERS-CoV, and are therefore less likely to become actively infected and shed the virus. Very young camels are immunologically naive, and are therefore more likely to contract – and pass on – the virus.
Three weeks ago, in Deconstructing the 90% Of Camels Have MERS Meme, we looked at the oft repeated, but erroneous claim that `that 90% of Saudi Camels have the MERS virus’.
While 90% of adult camels have antibodies to the MERS coronavirus, the actual percentage of camels that are actively infected, and capable of transmitting the virus, is fairly small and their period of infectivity is relatively short.
A recently published dispatch in the EID Journal, looked at the incidence of MERS-CoV shedding in camels by age.
Camels carry Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, but little is known about infection age or prevalence. We studied >800 dromedaries of all ages and 15 mother–calf pairs. This syndrome constitutes an acute, epidemic, and time-limited infection in camels <4 years of age, particularly calves. Delayed social separation of calves might reduce human infection risk.