By Jonathan Ball BBC News

12 June 2015


How the virus spreads to humans is still unknown.
It might be through direct contact with body fluids from infected camels. Juvenile camels are very wary of humans and will normally avoid contact with them. However, when the juveniles are separated from their mothers - usually at or before the age of two - they are brought into contact with humans and this provides the perfect opportunity to pass on any virus that they are shedding.
Alternatively, infection might also occur through drinking unpasteurised milk; possibly contaminated by transfer of virus present in the saliva of an infected calf onto the mother's teat during suckling.
Commenting on the infection risk, Dr M?ller said "When it comes to being infected, I think you really need close contact and in particular behaviour like kissing camels, drinking raw milk, touching the nostrils and then touching your eyes. That's the way to get infected.
"It's not airborne, that's for sure, and you need quite a dose."
The authors of the latest study argue that simple changes in animal husbandry, like delaying the age that calves are taken away from their mothers, is likely to reduce the chance of human infection.
Research published recently in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases shows that camels aged less than four years might be a major source of Mers.