Milk from dromedary camels infected with the MERS coronavirus may contain the virus, and consuming this raw milk may thus pose a risk to public health. These findings are the result of an ongoing international study coordinated by the Erasmus MC in collaboration with RIVM and were published on 12 June 2014 in a Eurosurveillance article.
It was already known that dromedary camels are likely to play a central role in the spreading of the virus, but it is as yet unknown how exactly MERS CoV is transmitted from animals to humans. RIVM and Erasmus MC are contributing to studies where researchers worldwide try to address these questions. In the study published in Eurosurveillance, they describe that milk from camels with active MERS coronavirus infection may also test positive for viral RNA, showing that this is a possible route of exposure. Cooking milk will inactivate the virus, and therefore is recommended by the WHO.