Egypt’s health ministry confirmed the probability of MERS in Egypt after it was announced that the coronavirus had been found in a small number of camels, sparking concerns that the deadly virus could spread to humans.
In a statement released on Sunday, the health ministry said that a study conducted by Egypt’s National Research Centre found the virus in four camels, out of 491 samples tested.
The virus was not found in humans, cats or bats, according to the study, state-run news agency MENA reported.
The statement added that an increase in travelers to the Arabian Peninsula, where the virus first emerged in 2012, is also responsible for the higher probability of MERS in Egypt.
Ninety-three people have died so far from the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), most of them in Saudi Arabia. The most recent case of MERS died in Indonesia on Friday, the first case in Southeast Asia.
The Indonesia victim contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said. The WHO has said there is no evidence that the virus is easily transmitted between humans.
Recent scientific research has suggested that camels – among other animals – harbor the virus before passing it onto humans.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s health ministry assured its readiness for dealing with any suspected cases of MERS, assuring that it has tested over 8,400 suspected cases, all of which were negative, the ministry’s statement said.