More and more studies point to the fact that dromedaries are the source of the human zoonotic infections. As yet there are no indications of continuous transmission of the MERS virus from person to person in the general population.

The Spanish flu of 1918 to 1920, the most deadly pandemic of the 20th century – besides HIV/AIDS – with its death toll of up to 50 million, was likewise a zoonotic disease. The process by which flu viruses are transmitted between humans and animals, that is to say mainly between birds, pigs and humans, is as dynamic and complex as the mutations that the flu viruses can undergo in passing through these various species. Transmission takes place anywhere that humans and animals come into close contact – therefore including and particularly in small-scale farming. That is why – according to leading experts in this field – it is a question not of “if” but only of “when” a new flu virus originating in the animal kingdom starts to make its way round the world.