MERS virus reaches Kuwait, infecting 5 camels

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(Getty Images - Image for illustrative purposes only)

(Getty Images - Image for illustrative purposes only)

Five camels have been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in Kuwait in the country’s first detection of the fatal virus, according to state media.

The Gulf state’s Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources board chairman Jassim Al Bader said a random test on 83 camels revealed five were infected, KUNA reported.

Al Bader said the camels had been isolated and preventive measures had been taken, including contacting the owners, who were immediately tested and would be monitored.

Health Ministry officials also held an urgent meeting to discuss the emergence of MERS in the country and to coordinate further examinations of camels.

Kuwait has managed to avoid MERS despite neighbouring Saudi Arabia being the source of the virus.

About 600 cases have been detected in Saudi Arabia, with about one-third of infected people dying. Cases have been recorded as far away as Asia and the US, while the UAE also has had a relatively high number of infections, including more than 10 deaths.

The World Health Organisation last month held an extraordinary meeting to discuss whether to classify the virus as an international health emergency but it was deemed not to be.

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