WHO | Frequently Asked Questions on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

MERS-CoV has recently been found to be genetically related to a virus identified in bats from Southern Africa. But there is no definitive evidence that MERS-CoV originates in bats.

via WHO | Frequently Asked Questions on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

(Such viruses can be easily spread from animal to animal via urine, feces and saliva. And it may be possible that enough virus carrying material has been deposited in and around the hundreds of thousands of date palms grown in the area of Saudi Arabia with the most cases reported. If there was an increase in area planted or more dates in past year – population of bats would increase and so would exposure.)