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Confirmed MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

MoH warns of risks of contracting MERS-CoV from camels

The Ministry of Saudi Arabian Health issued an advisory on Saturday reminding the public to be cautious when dealing with camels because of the risk of contracting MERS Coronavirus.

The advisory comes as part of the ministry's awareness campaign of the deadly virus ahead of the Haj pilgrimage when millions of people converge on the Kingdom from every part of the world.

Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News on Saturday that recent studies have shown that MERS-CoV can be found in the mucus and saliva of infected camels, and research conducted by Saudi scientists has indicated that camels play a role in the transmission of this virus to humans.

Since June 2012, there have been 729 cases of MERS in the Kingdom including 302 deaths. During this period, a total of 399 people recovered from the illness. Since Monday, there has been no new case of the virus while some 28 patients are currently being treated in hospitals across the country.

The awareness campaign was launched in cooperation with the World Health Organization "to empower the public with crucial up-to-date information required for combating the virus."

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