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Origin of MERS virus in Oman being studied: MoH

Muscat - 

Following the death of an Omani from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the Ministry of Health (MoH) has joined hands with other government agencies to study the virus.

MoH is also seeking help from other GCC states and the World Health Organization (WHO) to find out the origin of the virus in the sultanate.

“MoH is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to screen animals, especially camels, to find out the origin of the virus in Oman. To get details of Haj pilgrims -  another potential group vulnerable to the deadly virus - the ministry is coordinating with WHO and Saudi Arabia,” a senior doctor in MoH's communicable diseases department said.

If the relation between camels and MERS virus is proved, then it can be assumed that the virus already existed in Oman. If it isn't proved, then the virus has come from outside, another doctor in the department said.

“It's possible that a person returning from Haj could have carried the virus but may not have been infected because of his high immunity. A person with lower immunity levels coming in contact with the carrier can be affected,” the doctor said. Post-Haj surveillance has been put into place by MoH, which is coordinating with WHO and health ministries of Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries.

The various lab tests to detect MERC-CoV are also being looked into by MoH.

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