The virus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has been found in camel milk. Scientists don’t know whether infected milk can sicken people, but experts say the results are reason enough to warn against drinking raw camel milk, a widespread tradition in the Middle East. The Qatari government has already issued new guidelines recommending that milk be boiled before consumption.
The new findings come from a group of researchers at Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health; the country’s Ministry of Environment; Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. They were announced at a press conference in Doha on Wednesday, and a paper about them was submitted to the journal Eurosurveillance today, says Erasmus MC virologist Chantal Reusken, the first author.