In a scientific paper published Tuesday, scientists suggested that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) may be airborne. The disease has already claimed at least 288 lives since its appearance in 2012.
Researchers at King Fahd Medical Research Center in Saudi Arabia analyzed air samples from an infected camel barn, and the samples tested positive for a strain of the viral genome MERS RNA, CNN reports. The possibility of MERS being airborne has been in question after reports found that some infected people had close contact with other MERS patients. The WHO recommends that "airborne precautions should be applied" when treating MERS, in case the disease may spread through air particles.
"These data show evidence for the presence of the airborne MERS in the same barn that was owned by the patient and sheltered the infected camels," the study authors said in a statement. However, doctors are still looking into the difference between dead and live virus particles and are unsure whether MERS can be transmitted through aerosols. Watch CNN's report on the spread of MERS below. --Meghan DeMaria