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Can Camels Contract the Coronavirus?

Can Camels Contract the Coronavirus?


post shared on Twitter indicates that camels are contracting the Coronavirus.

The tweet written in Swahili would translate to ask; “Have you heard that camels are getting Corona?” It however does not clarify what type of Coronavirus is affecting camels.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome”.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there are four main sub-groups of the Coronavirus, while the first human Coronaviruses were identified in the 1960s.

“Sometimes Coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and make people sick and become a new human coronavirus.”-CDC.


Piga Firimbi debunked false reports claiming that camels in Kenya’s Marsabit County had allegedly contracted the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV).

According to WHO, MERS-CoV is a type of Coronavirus found in the Dromedary breed of camels. The WHO report adds that MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, meaning it is transmitted between animals and people. The International Livestock Research Institute indicates that camels have previously been a source of human infections with the MERS-CoV disease in Kenya. MERS-CoV was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

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While camels can indeed contract the MERS-CoV type of Coronavirus, health officials in Kenya disputed claims that this was the cause of recent camel deaths and illness in Marsabit County. Reports published by media outlets such as NTV and Turkey-based Anadolu Agency were retracted after Kenyan Director of Veterinary Services, Charles Ochodo, clarified that the camels died from a bacterial infection known as Mannheimia haemolytica.

At the same time, WHO states that there is no evidence that animals or pets can be infected with the novel Coronavirus which has brought about the COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC similarly indicates that no evidence currently suggests that animals play a significant role in the spread of COVID-19.

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