Evidence for camel-to-human transmission of MERS coronavirus

N Engl J Med. 2014 Jun 26;370(26):2499-505. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1401505. Epub 2014 Jun 4.


We describe the isolation and sequencing of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) obtained from a dromedary camel and from a patient who died of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection after close contact with camels that had rhinorrhea. Nasal swabs collected from the patient and from one of his nine camels were positive for MERS-CoV RNA. In addition, MERS-CoV was isolated from the patient and the camel. The full genome sequences of the two isolates were identical. Serologic data indicated that MERS-CoV was circulating in the camels but not in the patient before the human infection occurred. These data suggest that this fatal case of human MERS-CoV infection was transmitted through close contact with an infected camel.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Camelus / virology*
  • Coronavirus / genetics
  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Genome, Viral
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle East
  • Nose / virology*
  • RNA, Viral / isolation & purification
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Zoonoses / transmission


  • RNA, Viral