Kenya: Mass Camel Deaths Not Caused By Coronavirus, Government Says

12 August 2020

Camel deaths reported in north eastern counties are not as a result of coronavirus, the government said Wednesday.

Director of Veterinary Services Charles Ochodo said in a statement the animals died of a bacterial infection (mannheimia haemolytica) which causes respiratory illness in livestock and subsequent death if not treated on time.

The government said in a report that the most affected are young camels below two years in Marsabit, Wajir, Isiolo and Garissa counties.

Dr Ochodo revealed that a research done by the department of veterinary services confirmed that the deaths were not caused by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) but a bacteria.

"Surveillance reports indicate that a respiratory syndrome characterised by nasal discharge, coughing and difficulty in breathing followed by death was affecting young camels. The DVS can confirm that the disease causing illness and deaths in camels in northern Kenyan is not Mers-CoV," Dr Ochodo said.

The report went further to explain that MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory disease. The virus was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Studies have shown that Kenyan camels have high exposure to a MERS-CoV strain that is different from the virus in the Middle East.

The DVS's report went further to explain that there is limited evidence that the Kenyan strain can cause clinical illness in humans.

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