Disease

Scientists Determine Bats the Source of Deadly Saudi Arabian Virus

Has killed dozens

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Scientists have found the mysterious MERS virus in a Saudi Arabian bat just a few kilometres from its first victim's home, an international journal reported.

The discovery reported on Wednesday by Emerging Infectious Diseases is considered an important development in the search for the origin of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a deadly illness that is worrying health officials around the world.

The bat virus was an exact match to the first known human case of MERS and the sample was collected near that patient's home, the researchers said.

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Health and lead author of the report, Dr Ziad Memish, however, said it was likely that something else, perhaps another animal, was spreading the virus directly to humans.