Somali traders and their camels wait at the open air export market, on the outskirts of Somalia's capital Mogadishu in this June 7, 2014. REUTERS/Feisal Omar
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Saudi Arabia suspects a virus that has killed hundreds of people there may have arrived in camels from the Horn of Africa, and could ban such imports until it knows more, the kingdom's chief scientist told Reuters.MERS was first identified in humans in 2012 and is caused by a corona virus from the same viral family as the one that caused a deadly outbreak of SARS in China in 2003 . More than 700 people in Saudi Arabia have contracted it and 292 of them have died, according to latest data from the Saudi health ministry.Somalia exported about 4.7 million animals in 2013 .Madani said that while Saudi Arabia does have some domestic camels, most of those used for meat and trade are imported from the Horn of Africa.Murillo said data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on national camel stocks in 2012 show there were 7 million camels in Somalia compared with 260,000 in Saudi Arabia.
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