A Saudi Arabian man who died of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) probably caught the disease from one of his sick dromedary camels that he treated for a nasal discharge a month earlier. Samples taken from the man and camel found a genetically identical virus. This is the first conclusive evidence that camels may be the intermediate hosts of the bug. The exact reservoir the maintains the virus in its ecologic niche has yet to be identified, however.
The Saudi man fell ill about seven days after treating the camel with a topical medicine. He and three friends visited the camels daily but his friends, who had no direct contact with the animal, remained free of the virus.