Researchers have found the first direct link between camels and the mysterious MERS virus, according to a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study centered around the case of a retired soldier in Saudi Arabia who owned a small herd of camels. The man, who had regular contact with the camels, eventually developed symptoms of MERS and was admitted to the hospital in November, where he died soon after. Genetic tests show the man was infected by a virus identical to the one that affected his camels. Although experts have known that camels are a source of MERS, up until now there has not been a case illustrating direct, camel-to-human infection. Of 681 cases of MERS worldwide, 204 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.