sciencehabit writes "Ever since people in the Middle East started dying of a mysterious new infection last year, scientists have been trying to pinpoint the source of the outbreak. Now they may finally have found a clue in an unlikely population: retired racing camels. Countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates produce and consume large amounts of camel meat. The authors of the paper point out that huge numbers of camels are imported to the Middle East from African countries as well as from Australia, where the animals were introduced in the 19th century and which now has an estimated 1 million feral camels. (Australia started exporting camels to Saudi Arabia for meat production in 2002.) That raises the possibility that African or Australian bats harbor the virus and camels carried it to the Middle East."