Muscat, Oct 2 – A new World Health Organization (WHO) report has warned of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) saying “the virus is in camels everywhere”.
According to Maria Van Kerkhove, an expert on disease outbreak, MERS virus is in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. However, there’s no official information about the existence of the disease in camels in Oman.
“We don’t have any infection in the country so far. If there is, we will take proper measures,” said Dr Hadi al Lawati, Director of Animal Resources Department at Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. “Two camel vaccines have been developed, but only one, developed by the Jenner Institute, is in field trials,” said Kerkhove.
Almost all outbreaks have so far originated in Arabian Gulf, but MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) can infect humans wherever there are one-humped dromedary camels. Two-humped bactrians are not affected.
All camels should be diagnosed, quarantined and vaccinated before they enter the Gulf from the Horn of Africa, where the disease surveillance is poor.
MERS-CoV appears to have originated in Arabian Gulf in 2012. In Oman, the first case of MERS was detected in 2013. Only one case was reported this year in a 54-year-old man from the Governorate of Al Batinah, registering a total of eight MERS cases in Oman since the outbreak of the disease.
Zainab al Nassri