(UPI) -- Saudi health ministry officials have confirmed that a camel has tested positive for Middle East respiratory syndrome or "Mers." The animal's owner was previously diagnosed with Mers.
Mers is a coronavirus, a large family of viruses which includes the common cold and Sars. There have been 153 cases reported worldwide and 64 deaths related to the Sars-like Mers virus. It remains unclear whether the camel was responsible for transmitting the disease to its owner.
Experts believe the virus is not very contagious and is spread through droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
The Saudi health ministry is working closely with the agriculture industry to isolate the virus and compare it to the patient's virus. If the virus can be matched, it will be the first instance that links the virus to both humans and animals and could improve researchers' understanding of how it spreads.
For the time being, the World Health Organization has not imposed any travel restrictions to the region.