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The 40-odd men gathered in a sandy, dung-scattered auction pen at one of Saudi Arabia's largest camel markets were fiercely dismissive of a link scientists have found between the animals and an often-fatal virus in humans.Although many patients in a recent outbreak in Jeddah appear to have become infected through person-to-person transmission in hospitals, MERS has been found in bats and camels, and many experts say the latter form the most likely animal reservoir from which humans are becoming infected.Camels occupy a special place in Saudi society, providing a link to an important but vanishing nomadic tradition and valued at prices that can climb to hundreds of thousands of dollars.Among the pungent pens in Riyadh's camel market, stretching several kilometers along a highway out of the city, the traders, owners and camel workers said they had been given no advice, information or warnings on MERS.He was speaking after meeting foreign experts who were invited by the government to help investigate MERS. They have also advised people not to consume raw milk or raw meat from camels.
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