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    Lack of seasonal variation of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Al-Tawfiq Jaffar A,Memish Ziad A Travel medicine and infectious disease 10.1016/j.tmaid.2018.09.002
    Presence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus antibodies in Saudi Arabia: a nationwide, cross-sectional, serological study. Müller Marcel A,Meyer Benjamin,Corman Victor M,Al-Masri Malak,Turkestani Abdulhafeez,Ritz Daniel,Sieberg Andrea,Aldabbagh Souhaib,Bosch Berend-J,Lattwein Erik,Alhakeem Raafat F,Assiri Abdullah M,Albarrak Ali M,Al-Shangiti Ali M,Al-Tawfiq Jaffar A,Wikramaratna Paul,Alrabeeah Abdullah A,Drosten Christian,Memish Ziad A The Lancet. Infectious diseases BACKGROUND:Scientific evidence suggests that dromedary camels are the intermediary host for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). However, the actual number of infections in people who have had contact with camels is unknown and most index patients cannot recall any such contact. We aimed to do a nationwide serosurvey in Saudi Arabia to establish the prevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies, both in the general population and in populations of individuals who have maximum exposure to camels. METHODS:In the cross-sectional serosurvey, we tested human serum samples obtained from healthy individuals older than 15 years who attended primary health-care centres or participated in a national burden-of-disease study in all 13 provinces of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, we tested serum samples from shepherds and abattoir workers with occupational exposure to camels. Samples were screened by recombinant ELISA and MERS-CoV seropositivity was confirmed by recombinant immunofluorescence and plaque reduction neutralisation tests. We used two-tailed Mann Whitney U exact tests, χ(2), and Fisher's exact tests to analyse the data. FINDINGS:Between Dec 1, 2012, and Dec 1, 2013, we obtained individual serum samples from 10,009 individuals. Anti-MERS-CoV antibodies were confirmed in 15 (0·15%; 95% CI 0·09-0·24) of 10,009 people in six of the 13 provinces. The mean age of seropositive individuals was significantly younger than that of patients with reported, laboratory-confirmed, primary Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (43·5 years [SD 17·3] vs 53·8 years [17·5]; p=0·008). Men had a higher antibody prevalence than did women (11 [0·25%] of 4341 vs two [0·05%] of 4378; p=0·028) and antibody prevalence was significantly higher in central versus coastal provinces (14 [0·26%] of 5479 vs one [0·02%] of 4529; p=0·003). Compared with the general population, seroprevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies was significantly increased by 15 times in shepherds (two [2·3%] of 87, p=0·0004) and by 23 times in slaughterhouse workers (five [3·6%] of 140; p<0·0001). INTERPRETATION:Seroprevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies was significantly higher in camel-exposed individuals than in the general population. By simple multiplication, a projected 44,951 (95% CI 26,971-71,922) individuals older than 15 years might be seropositive for MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia. These individuals might be the source of infection for patients with confirmed MERS who had no previous exposure to camels. FUNDING:European Union, German Centre for Infection Research, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, German Research Council, and Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia. 10.1016/S1473-3099(15)70090-3
    Retrospective, epidemiological cluster analysis of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) epidemic using open source data. Darling N D,Poss D E,Schoelen M P,Metcalf-Kelly M,Hill S E,Harris S Epidemiology and infection The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is caused by a novel coronavirus discovered in 2012. Since then, 1806 cases, including 564 deaths, have been reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and affected countries as of 1 June 2016. Previous literature attributed increases in MERS-CoV transmission to camel breeding season as camels are likely the reservoir for the virus. However, this literature review and subsequent analysis indicate a lack of seasonality. A retrospective, epidemiological cluster analysis was conducted to investigate increases in MERS-CoV transmission and reports of household and nosocomial clusters. Cases were verified and associations between cases were substantiated through an extensive literature review and the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch's Tiered Source Classification System. A total of 51 clusters were identified, primarily nosocomial (80·4%) and most occurred in KSA (45·1%). Clusters corresponded temporally with the majority of periods of greatest incidence, suggesting a strong correlation between nosocomial transmission and notable increases in cases. 10.1017/S0950268817002345
    A systematic review of MERS-CoV seroprevalence and RNA prevalence in dromedary camels: Implications for animal vaccination. Dighe Amy,Jombart Thibaut,Van Kerkhove Maria D,Ferguson Neil Epidemics Human infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is driven by recurring dromedary-to-human spill-over events, leading decision-makers to consider dromedary vaccination. Dromedary vaccine candidates in the development pipeline are showing hopeful results, but gaps in our understanding of the epidemiology of MERS-CoV in dromedaries must be addressed to design and evaluate potential vaccination strategies. We aim to bring together existing measures of MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels to assess the distribution of infection, highlighting knowledge gaps and implications for animal vaccination. We systematically reviewed the published literature on MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science that reported seroprevalence and/or prevalence of active MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels from both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. 60 studies met our eligibility criteria. Qualitative syntheses determined that MERS-CoV seroprevalence increased with age up to 80-100% in adult dromedaries supporting geographically widespread endemicity of MERS-CoV in dromedaries in both the Arabian Peninsula and countries exporting dromedaries from Africa. The high prevalence of active infection measured in juveniles and at sites where dromedary populations mix should guide further investigation - particularly of dromedary movement - and inform vaccination strategy design and evaluation through mathematical modelling. 10.1016/j.epidem.2019.100350
    Toward Developing a Preventive MERS-CoV Vaccine-Report from a Workshop Organized by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Health and the International Vaccine Institute, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 14-15, 2015. Excler Jean-Louis,Delvecchio Christopher J,Wiley Ryan E,Williams Marni,Yoon In-Kyu,Modjarrad Kayvon,Boujelal Mohamed,Moorthy Vasee S,Hersi Ahmad Salah,Kim Jerome H, Emerging infectious diseases Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) remains a serious international public health threat. With the goal of accelerating the development of countermeasures against MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), funding agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and researchers across the world assembled in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on November 14-15, 2015, to discuss vaccine development challenges. The meeting was spearheaded by the Saudi Ministry of Health and co-organized by the International Vaccine Institute, South Korea. Accelerating the development of a preventive vaccine requires a better understanding of MERS epidemiology, transmission, and pathogenesis in humans and animals. A combination of rodent and nonhuman primate models should be considered in evaluating and developing preventive and therapeutic vaccine candidates. Dromedary camels should be considered for the development of veterinary vaccines. Several vaccine technology platforms targeting the MERS-CoV spike protein were discussed. Mechanisms to maximize investment, provide robust data, and affect public health are urgently needed. 10.3201/eid2208.160229
    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: risk factors and determinants of primary, household, and nosocomial transmission. Hui David S,Azhar Esam I,Kim Yae-Jean,Memish Ziad A,Oh Myoung-Don,Zumla Alimuddin The Lancet. Infectious diseases Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a lethal zoonosis that causes death in 35·7% of cases. As of Feb 28, 2018, 2182 cases of MERS-CoV infection (with 779 deaths) in 27 countries were reported to WHO worldwide, with most being reported in Saudi Arabia (1807 cases with 705 deaths). MERS-CoV features prominently in the WHO blueprint list of priority pathogens that threaten global health security. Although primary transmission of MERS-CoV to human beings is linked to exposure to dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius), the exact mode by which MERS-CoV infection is acquired remains undefined. Up to 50% of MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia have been classified as secondary, occurring from human-to-human transmission through contact with asymptomatic or symptomatic individuals infected with MERS-CoV. Hospital outbreaks of MERS-CoV are a hallmark of MERS-CoV infection. The clinical features associated with MERS-CoV infection are not MERS-specific and are similar to other respiratory tract infections. Thus, the diagnosis of MERS can easily be missed, unless the doctor or health-care worker has a high degree of clinical awareness and the patient undergoes specific testing for MERS-CoV. The largest outbreak of MERS-CoV outside the Arabian Peninsula occurred in South Korea in May, 2015, resulting in 186 cases with 38 deaths. This outbreak was caused by a traveller with undiagnosed MERS-CoV infection who became ill after returning to Seoul from a trip to the Middle East. The traveller visited several health facilities in South Korea, transmitting the virus to many other individuals long before a diagnosis was made. With 10 million pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia each year from 182 countries, watchful surveillance by public health systems, and a high degree of clinical awareness of the possibility of MERS-CoV infection is essential. In this Review, we provide a comprehensive update and synthesis of the latest available data on the epidemiology, determinants, and risk factors of primary, household, and nosocomial transmission of MERS-CoV, and suggest measures to reduce risk of transmission. 10.1016/S1473-3099(18)30127-0
    Underlying trend, seasonality, prediction, forecasting and the contribution of risk factors: an analysis of globally reported cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Da'ar Omar B,Ahmed Anwar E Epidemiology and infection This study set out to identify and analyse trends and seasonal variations of monthly global reported cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It also made a prediction based on the reported and extrapolated into the future by forecasting the trend. Finally, the study assessed contributions of various risk factors in the reported cases. The motivation for this study is that MERS-CoV remains among the list of blueprint priority and potential pandemic diseases globally. Yet, there is a paucity of empirical literature examining trends and seasonality as the available evidence is generally descriptive and anecdotal. The study is a time series analysis using monthly global reported cases of MERS-CoV by the World Health Organisation between January 2015 and January 2018. We decomposed the series into seasonal, irregular and trend components and identified patterns, smoothened series, generated predictions and employed forecasting techniques based on linear regression. We assessed contributions of various risk factors in MERS-CoV cases over time. Successive months of the MERS-CoV cases suggest a significant decreasing trend (P = 0.026 for monthly series and P = 0.047 for Quarterly series). The MERS-CoV cases are forecast to wane by end 2018. Seasonality component of the cases oscillated below or above the baseline (the centred moving average), but no association with the series over time was noted. The results revealed contributions of risk factors such as camel contact, male, old age and being from Saudi Arabia and Middle East regions to the overall reported cases of MERS-CoV. The trend component and several risk factors for global MERS-CoV cases, including camel contact, male, age and geography/region significantly affected the series. Our statistical models appear to suggest significant predictive capacity and the findings may well inform healthcare practitioners and policymakers about the underlying dynamics that produced the globally reported MERS-CoV cases. 10.1017/S0950268818001541
    Public response to MERS-CoV in the Middle East: iPhone survey in six countries. Alqahtani Amani S,Rashid Harunor,Basyouni Mada H,Alhawassi Tariq M,BinDhim Nasser F Journal of infection and public health Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries bear the heaviest brunt of MERS-CoV. This study aims to compare public awareness and practice around MERS-CoV across GCC countries. A cross-sectional survey was conducted using the Gulf Indicators (GI) smartphone app among people in the six GCC countries, namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. A total of 1812 participants recruited. All were aware of MERS-CoV, yet the perception and practice around MERS-CoV varied widely between countries. Over two thirds were either "not concerned" or "slightly concerned" about contracting MERS-CoV; believing that they were under Allah's (God's) protection (40%) was the most cited reason. While 79% were aware that the disease can transmit through droplet from infected person, only 12% stated that MERS-CoV transmits via camels; people in Saudi Arabia were better aware of the transmission. Nevertheless, only 22% of respondents believed that camels are the zoonotic reservoir of MERS-CoV. Those who were concerned about contracting MERS-CoV (aOR: 1.6, 95% CI: 1.2-2.1, p<0.01) and those who thought MERS-CoV to be a severe disease only for those with high-risk conditions (aOR: 1.5, 95% CI: 1.1-2.1, p<0.01) were more likely to believe that camels are the zoonotic source. However, residents of KSA (aOR: 0.03, 95% CI: 0.01-0.07, p<0.01), UAE (aOR: 0.01, 95% CI: 0.004-0.02, p<0.01) and Kuwait (aOR: 0.03, 95% CI: 0.01-0.07, p<0.01) were less likely to believe that camels are the main zoonotic source compared to respondents from the other countries. Hygienic measures were more commonly adopted than avoidance of camels or their raw products, yet there was a discrepancy between the countries. This study highlights that despite being aware of the ongoing MERS-CoV epidemic; many people lack accurate understanding about MERS-CoV transmission, prevention, and are not fully compliant with preventive measures. 10.1016/j.jiph.2016.11.015
    Vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus for humans and camels. Alharbi Naif Khalaf Reviews in medical virology Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is caused by a novel betacoronavirus that was isolated in late 2012 in Saudi Arabia. The viral infections have been reported in more than 1700 humans, ranging from asymptomatic or mild cases to severe pneumonia with a mortality rate of 40%. It is well documented now that dromedary camels contract the infection and shed the virus without notable symptoms, and such animals had been infected by at least the early 1980s. The mechanism of camel to human transmission is still not clear, but several primary cases have been associated with camel contact. There is no approved antiviral drug or vaccine against MERS-CoV despite the active research in this area. Vaccine candidates have been developed using various platforms and regimens and have been tested in several animal models. Here, this article reviews the published studies on MERS-CoV vaccines with more focus on vaccines tested in large animals, including camels. It is foreseeable that the 1-health approach could be the best way of tackling the MERS-CoV endemic in the Arabian Peninsula, by using the mass vaccination of camels in the affected areas to block camel to human transmission. Camel vaccines can be developed in a faster time with fewer regulations and lower costs and could clear this virus from the Arabian Peninsula if accompanied by efficient public health measures. 10.1002/rmv.1917
    Blocking transmission of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in llamas by vaccination with a recombinant spike protein. Rodon Jordi,Okba Nisreen M A,Te Nigeer,van Dieren Brenda,Bosch Berend-Jan,Bensaid Albert,Segalés Joaquim,Haagmans Bart L,Vergara-Alert Júlia Emerging microbes & infections The ongoing Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreaks pose a worldwide public health threat. Blocking MERS-CoV zoonotic transmission from dromedary camels, the animal reservoir, could potentially reduce the number of primary human cases. Here we report MERS-CoV transmission from experimentally infected llamas to naïve animals. Directly inoculated llamas shed virus for at least 6 days and could infect all in-contact naïve animals 4-5 days after exposure. With the aim to block virus transmission, we examined the efficacy of a recombinant spike S1-protein vaccine. In contrast to naïve animals, in-contact vaccinated llamas did not shed infectious virus upon exposure to directly inoculated llamas, consistent with the induction of strong virus neutralizing antibody responses. Our data provide further evidence that vaccination of the reservoir host may impede MERS-CoV zoonotic transmission to humans. 10.1080/22221751.2019.1685912
    MERS coronavirus outbreak: Implications for emerging viral infections. Al-Omari Awad,Rabaan Ali A,Salih Samer,Al-Tawfiq Jaffar A,Memish Ziad A Diagnostic microbiology and infectious disease In September 2012, a novel coronavirus was isolated from a patient who died in Saudi Arabia after presenting with acute respiratory distress and acute kidney injury. Analysis revealed the disease to be due to a novel virus which was named Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). There have been several MERS-CoV hospital outbreaks in KSA, continuing to the present day, and the disease has a mortality rate in excess of 35%. Since 2012, the World Health Organization has been informed of 2220 laboratory-confirmed cases resulting in at least 790 deaths. Cases have since arisen in 27 countries, including an outbreak in the Republic of Korea in 2015 in which 36 people died, but more than 80% of cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia.. Human-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV, particularly in healthcare settings, initially caused a 'media panic', however human-to-human transmission appears to require close contact and thus far the virus has not achieved epidemic potential. Zoonotic transmission is of significant importance and evidence is growing implicating the dromedary camel as the major animal host in spread of disease to humans. MERS-CoV is now included on the WHO list of priority blueprint diseases for which there which is an urgent need for accelerated research and development as they have the potential to cause a public health emergency while there is an absence of efficacious drugs and/or vaccines. In this review we highlight epidemiological, clinical, and infection control aspects of MERS-CoV as informed by the Saudi experience. Attention is given to recommended treatments and progress towards vaccine development. 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2018.10.011
    The prevalence of Middle East respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in livestock and temporal relation to locations and seasons. Kasem Samy,Qasim Ibrahim,Al-Doweriej Ali,Hashim Osman,Alkarar Ali,Abu-Obeida Ali,Saleh Mohamed,Al-Hofufi Ali,Al-Ghadier Hussein,Hussien Raed,Al-Sahaf Ali,Bayoumi Faisal,Magouz Asmaa Journal of infection and public health BACKGROUND:The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has been reported for the first time infecting a human being since 2012. The WHO was notified of 27 countries have reported cases of MERS, the majority of these cases occur in the Arabian Peninsula, particularly in Saudi Arabia. Dromedary camels are likely to be the main source of Middle East respiratory syndrome virus (MERS-CoV) infection in humans. METHODS:MERS-CoV infection rates among camels in livestock markets and slaughterhouses were investigated in Saudi Arabia. A total of 698 nasal swabs were collected and examined with Rapid assay and rtRT-PCR. Ten MERS-CoV positive samples were subjected to full genomic sequencing. In addition, the sensitivity and specificity of the Rapid immunochromatographic assay (BioNote, South Korea) was evaluated as a diagnostic tool for MERS-CoV compared to rtRT-PCR. RESULTS:The results showed a high percentage of dromedaries (56.4%) had evidence for nasal MERS-CoV infection. Phylogenetic analysis of the ten MERS-CoV isolates showed that the sequences were closely related to the other MERS-CoV strains recovered from camels and human cases. Moreover, the results showed that 195 samples were positive for MERS-CoV by rapid assay compared to 394 positive samples of rtRT-PCR, which showed low rapid assay sensitivity (49.49%) while, the specificity were found to be 100%. CONCLUSION:These findings indicate that these sites are a highly-hazardous to zoonotic diseases. 10.1016/j.jiph.2018.01.004
    Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) origin and animal reservoir. Mohd Hamzah A,Al-Tawfiq Jaffar A,Memish Ziad A Virology journal Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel coronavirus discovered in 2012 and is responsible for acute respiratory syndrome in humans. Though not confirmed yet, multiple surveillance and phylogenetic studies suggest a bat origin. The disease is heavily endemic in dromedary camel populations of East Africa and the Middle East. It is unclear as to when the virus was introduced to dromedary camels, but data from studies that investigated stored dromedary camel sera and geographical distribution of involved dromedary camel populations suggested that the virus was present in dromedary camels several decades ago. Though bats and alpacas can serve as potential reservoirs for MERS-CoV, dromedary camels seem to be the only animal host responsible for the spill over human infections. 10.1186/s12985-016-0544-0
    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV): what lessons can we learn? Omrani A S,Shalhoub S The Journal of hospital infection The Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first isolated from a patient who died with severe pneumonia in June 2012. As of 19 June 2015, a total of 1,338 MERS-CoV infections have been notified to the World Health Organization (WHO). Clinical illness associated with MERS-CoV ranges from mild upper respiratory symptoms to rapidly progressive pneumonia and multi-organ failure. A significant proportion of patients present with non-respiratory symptoms such as headache, myalgia, vomiting and diarrhoea. A few potential therapeutic agents have been identified but none have been conclusively shown to be clinically effective. Human to human transmission is well documented, but the epidemic potential of MERS-CoV remains limited at present. Healthcare-associated clusters of MERS-CoV have been responsible for the majority of reported cases. The largest outbreaks have been driven by delayed diagnosis, overcrowding and poor infection control practices. However, chains of MERS-CoV transmission can be readily interrupted with implementation of appropriate control measures. As with any emerging infectious disease, guidelines for MERS-CoV case identification and surveillance evolved as new data became available. Sound clinical judgment is required to identify unusual presentations and trigger appropriate control precautions. Evidence from multiple sources implicates dromedary camels as natural hosts of MERS-CoV. Camel to human transmission has been demonstrated, but the exact mechanism of infection remains uncertain. The ubiquitously available social media have facilitated communication and networking amongst healthcare professionals and eventually proved to be important channels for presenting the public with factual material, timely updates and relevant advice. 10.1016/j.jhin.2015.08.002
    Human-Dromedary Camel Interactions and the Risk of Acquiring Zoonotic Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection. Gossner C,Danielson N,Gervelmeyer A,Berthe F,Faye B,Kaasik Aaslav K,Adlhoch C,Zeller H,Penttinen P,Coulombier D Zoonoses and public health Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases without documented contact with another human MERS-CoV case make up 61% (517/853) of all reported cases. These primary cases are of particular interest for understanding the source(s) and route(s) of transmission and for designing long-term disease control measures. Dromedary camels are the only animal species for which there is convincing evidence that it is a host species for MERS-CoV and hence a potential source of human infections. However, only a small proportion of the primary cases have reported contact with camels. Other possible sources and vehicles of infection include food-borne transmission through consumption of unpasteurized camel milk and raw meat, medicinal use of camel urine and zoonotic transmission from other species. There are critical knowledge gaps around this new disease which can only be closed through traditional field epidemiological investigations and studies designed to test hypothesis regarding sources of infection and risk factors for disease. Since the 1960s, there has been a radical change in dromedary camel farming practices in the Arabian Peninsula with an intensification of the production and a concentration of the production around cities. It is possible that the recent intensification of camel herding in the Arabian Peninsula has increased the virus' reproductive number and attack rate in camel herds while the 'urbanization' of camel herding increased the frequency of zoonotic 'spillover' infections from camels to humans. It is reasonable to assume, although difficult to measure, that the sensitivity of public health surveillance to detect previously unknown diseases is lower in East Africa than in Saudi Arabia and that sporadic human cases may have gone undetected there. 10.1111/zph.12171
    Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus and dromedaries. Wernery Ulrich,Lau Susanna K P,Woo Patrick C Y Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997) Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a zoonotic viral disease that can be transmitted from dromedaries to human beings. More than 1500 cases of MERS have been reported in human beings to date. Although MERS has been associated with 30% case fatality in human beings, MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in dromedaries is usually asymptomatic. In rare cases, dromedaries may develop mild respiratory signs. No MERS-CoV or antibodies against the virus have been detected in camelids other than dromedaries. MERS-CoV is mainly acquired in dromedaries when they are less than 1 year of age, and the proportion of seropositivity increases with age to a seroprevalence of 100% in adult dromedaries. Laboratory diagnosis of MERS-CoV infection in dromedaries can be achieved through virus isolation using Vero cells, RNA detection by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR and antigen detection using respiratory specimens or serum. Rapid nucleocapsid antigen detection using a lateral flow platform allows efficient screening of dromedaries carrying MERS-CoV. In addition to MERS-CoV, which is a lineage C virus in the Betacoronavirus (betaCoV) genus, a lineage B betaCoV and a virus in the Alphacoronavirus (alphaCoV) genus have been detected in dromedaries. Dromedary CoV UAE-HKU23 is closely related to human CoV OC43, whereas the alphaCoV has not been detected in human beings to date. 10.1016/j.tvjl.2016.12.020
    Focus on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Bleibtreu A,Bertine M,Bertin C,Houhou-Fidouh N,Visseaux B Medecine et maladies infectieuses Since the first case of human infection by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia in June 2012, more than 2260 cases of confirmed MERS-CoV infection and 803 related deaths have been reported since the 16th of October 2018. The vast majority of these cases (71%) were reported in Saudi Arabia but the epidemic has now spread to 27 countries and has not ceased 6 years later, unlike SARS-CoV that disappeared a little less than 2 years after emerging. Due to the high fatality rate observed in MERS-CoV infected patients (36%), much effort has been put into understanding the origin and pathophysiology of this novel coronavirus to prevent it from becoming endemic in humans. This review focuses in particular on the origin, epidemiology and clinical manifestations of MERS-CoV, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of infected patients. The experience gained over recent years on how to manage the different risks related to this kind of epidemic will be key to being prepared for future outbreaks of communicable disease. 10.1016/j.medmal.2019.10.004
    MERS coronavirus: diagnostics, epidemiology and transmission. Mackay Ian M,Arden Katherine E Virology journal The first known cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), associated with infection by a novel coronavirus (CoV), occurred in 2012 in Jordan but were reported retrospectively. The case first to be publicly reported was from Jeddah, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Since then, MERS-CoV sequences have been found in a bat and in many dromedary camels (DC). MERS-CoV is enzootic in DC across the Arabian Peninsula and in parts of Africa, causing mild upper respiratory tract illness in its camel reservoir and sporadic, but relatively rare human infections. Precisely how virus transmits to humans remains unknown but close and lengthy exposure appears to be a requirement. The KSA is the focal point of MERS, with the majority of human cases. In humans, MERS is mostly known as a lower respiratory tract (LRT) disease involving fever, cough, breathing difficulties and pneumonia that may progress to acute respiratory distress syndrome, multiorgan failure and death in 20% to 40% of those infected. However, MERS-CoV has also been detected in mild and influenza-like illnesses and in those with no signs or symptoms. Older males most obviously suffer severe disease and MERS patients often have comorbidities. Compared to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), another sometimes- fatal zoonotic coronavirus disease that has since disappeared, MERS progresses more rapidly to respiratory failure and acute kidney injury (it also has an affinity for growth in kidney cells under laboratory conditions), is more frequently reported in patients with underlying disease and is more often fatal. Most human cases of MERS have been linked to lapses in infection prevention and control (IPC) in healthcare settings, with approximately 20% of all virus detections reported among healthcare workers (HCWs) and higher exposures in those with occupations that bring them into close contact with camels. Sero-surveys have found widespread evidence of past infection in adult camels and limited past exposure among humans. Sensitive, validated reverse transcriptase real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-rtPCR)-based diagnostics have been available almost from the start of the emergence of MERS. While the basic virology of MERS-CoV has advanced over the past three years, understanding of the interplay between camel, environment, and human remains limited. 10.1186/s12985-015-0439-5
    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV): animal to human interaction. Omrani Ali S,Al-Tawfiq Jaffar A,Memish Ziad A Pathogens and global health The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel enzootic betacoronavirus that was first described in September 2012. The clinical spectrum of MERS-CoV infection in humans ranges from an asymptomatic or mild respiratory illness to severe pneumonia and multi-organ failure; overall mortality is around 35.7%. Bats harbour several betacoronaviruses that are closely related to MERS-CoV but more research is needed to establish the relationship between bats and MERS-CoV. The seroprevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies is very high in dromedary camels in Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. MERS-CoV RNA and viable virus have been isolated from dromedary camels, including some with respiratory symptoms. Furthermore, near-identical strains of MERS-CoV have been isolated from epidemiologically linked humans and camels, confirming inter-transmission, most probably from camels to humans. Though inter-human spread within health care settings is responsible for the majority of reported MERS-CoV cases, the virus is incapable at present of causing sustained human-to-human transmission. Clusters can be readily controlled with implementation of appropriate infection control procedures. Phylogenetic and sequencing data strongly suggest that MERS-CoV originated from bat ancestors after undergoing a recombination event in the spike protein, possibly in dromedary camels in Africa, before its exportation to the Arabian Peninsula along the camel trading routes. MERS-CoV serosurveys are needed to investigate possible unrecognized human infections in Africa. Amongst the important measures to control MERS-CoV spread are strict regulation of camel movement, regular herd screening and isolation of infected camels, use of personal protective equipment by camel handlers and enforcing rules banning all consumption of unpasteurized camel milk and urine. 10.1080/20477724.2015.1122852
    Sero-prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) specific antibodies in dromedary camels in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia. Harrath Rafik,Abu Duhier Faisel M Journal of medical virology The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel Coronavirus which was responsible of the first case of human acute respiratory syndrome in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), 2012. Dromedary camels are considered as potential reservoirs for the virus and seem to be the only animal host which may transmit the infection to human. Further studies are required to better understand the animal sources of zoonotic transmission route and the risks of this infection. A primary sero-prevalence study of MERS-CoV preexisting neutralizing antibodies in Dromedary camel serum was conducted in Tabuk, western north region of KSA, in order to assess the seopositivity of these animals and to explain their possible role in the transmission of the infection to Human. One hundred seventy one (171) serum samples were collected from healthy dromedary camels with different ages and genders in Tabuk city and tested for specific serum IgG by ELISA using the receptor-binding S1 subunits of spike proteins of MERS-CoV. 144 (84,21%) of the total camel sera shown the presence of protein-specific antibodies against MERS-CoV. These results may provide evidence that MERS-CoV has previously infected dromedary camels in Tabuk and may support the possible role of camels in the human infection. 10.1002/jmv.25186
    Dromedary Camels and the Transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Hemida M G,Elmoslemany A,Al-Hizab F,Alnaeem A,Almathen F,Faye B,Chu D K W,Perera R A P M,Peiris M Transboundary and emerging diseases Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an existential threat to global public health. The virus has been repeatedly detected in dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius). Adult animals in many countries in the Middle East as well as in North and East Africa showed high (>90%) seroprevalence to the virus. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus isolated from dromedaries is genetically and phenotypically similar to viruses from humans. We summarize current understanding of the ecology of MERS-CoV in animals and transmission at the animal-human interface. We review aspects of husbandry, animal movements and trade and the use and consumption of camel dairy and meat products in the Middle East that may be relevant to the epidemiology of MERS. We also highlight the gaps in understanding the transmission of this virus in animals and from animals to humans. 10.1111/tbed.12401
    Risk Factors for Primary Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Infection in Camel Workers in Qatar During 2013-2014: A Case-Control Study. Sikkema Reina S,Farag Elmoubasher A B A,Himatt Sayed,Ibrahim Adel K,Al-Romaihi Hamad,Al-Marri Salih A,Al-Thani Mohamed,El-Sayed Ahmed M,Al-Hajri Mohammed,Haagmans Bart L,Koopmans Marion P G,Reusken Chantal B E M The Journal of infectious diseases The transmission routes and risk factors for zoonotic Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections are still unknown. We used the World Health Organization questionnaire for MERS-CoV case-control studies to assess risk factors for human MERS-CoV seropositivity at a farm complex in Qatar. Nine camel workers with MERS-CoV antibodies and 43 workers without antibodies were included. Some camel-related activities may pose a higher risk of MERS-CoV infection, as may cross-border movements of camels, poor hand hygiene, and overnight hospital stays with respiratory complaints. The risk factors identified in this study can be used to develop infection prevention and control measures for human MERS-CoV infections. 10.1093/infdis/jix174
    MERS-CoV geography and ecology in the Middle East: analyses of reported camel exposures and a preliminary risk map. Reeves Tarian,Samy Abdallah M,Peterson A Townsend BMC research notes BACKGROUND:Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has spread rapidly across much of the Middle East, but no quantitative mapping of transmission risk has been developed to date. Moreover, details of the transmission cycle of the virus remain unclear, particularly regarding the role of camels as a reservoir host for human infections. METHODS:We present a first analysis of the environmental circumstances under which MERS-CoV cases have occurred in the Middle East, covering all case occurrences through May 2015, using ecological niche modeling approaches to map transmission risk. We compare the environmental breadth of conditions under which cases have reported camel contacts with that of the broader population of all cases, to assess whether camel-associated cases occur under a more restricted set of environmental circumstances. RESULTS:We documented geographic and environmental distributions of MERS-CoV cases across the Middle East, and offer preliminary mapping of transmission risk. We confirm the idea that climatic dimensions of camel-associated cases are more constrained and less variable than the broader suite of case occurrences; hence, camel exposure may be a key limiting element in MERS-CoV transmission. CONCLUSION:This study offers a first detailed geographic and environmental analysis of MERS-CoV distributions across the Middle East. Results indicated that camel-exposed cases occur under a narrower suite of environmental conditions than non-camel-exposed cases, suggesting perhaps a key role for camels in the transmission of the disease, and perhaps a narrower area of risk for 'primary,' camel-derived cases of MERS. 10.1186/s13104-015-1789-1
    Countrywide Survey for MERS-Coronavirus Antibodies in Dromedaries and Humans in Pakistan. Zohaib Ali,Saqib Muhammad,Athar Muhammad Ammar,Chen Jing,Sial Awais-Ur-Rahman,Khan Saeed,Taj Zeeshan,Sadia Halima,Tahir Usman,Tayyab Muhammad Haleem,Qureshi Muhammad Asif,Mansoor Muhammad Khalid,Naeem Muhammad Ahsan,Hu Bing-Jie,Khan Bilal Ahmed,Ujjan Ikram Din,Li Bei,Zhang Wei,Luo Yun,Zhu Yan,Waruhiu Cecilia,Khan Iahtasham,Yang Xing-Lou,Sajid Muhammad Sohail,Corman Victor Max,Yan Bing,Shi Zheng-Li Virologica Sinica Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic pathogen capable of causing severe respiratory disease in humans. Although dromedary camels are considered as a major reservoir host, the MERS-CoV infection dynamics in camels are not fully understood. Through surveillance in Pakistan, nasal (n = 776) and serum (n = 1050) samples were collected from camels between November 2015 and February 2018. Samples were collected from animal markets, free-roaming herds and abattoirs. An in-house ELISA was developed to detect IgG against MERS-CoV. A total of 794 camels were found seropositive for MERS-CoV. Prevalence increased with the age and the highest seroprevalence was recorded in camels aged > 10 years (81.37%) followed by those aged 3.1-10 years (78.65%) and ≤ 3 years (58.19%). Higher prevalence was observed in female (78.13%) as compared to male (70.70%). Of the camel nasal swabs, 22 were found to be positive by RT-qPCR though with high Ct values. Moreover, 2,409 human serum samples were also collected from four provinces of Pakistan during 2016-2017. Among the sampled population, 840 humans were camel herders. Although we found a high rate of MERS-CoV antibody positive dromedaries (75.62%) in Pakistan, no neutralizing antibodies were detected in humans with and without contact to camels. 10.1007/s12250-018-0051-0
    The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) nucleic acids detected in the saliva and conjunctiva of some naturally infected dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia -2019. Hemida Maged Gomaa,Ali Ali Mohamed,Alnaeem Abdelmohsen Zoonoses and public health Dromedary camels are playing essential roles in the evolution and transmission of MERS-CoV. MERS-CoV shedding in some dromedary camel secretions, particularly nasal swabs, were studied in more detail. However, the roles of viral shedding in saliva and ocular secretions are still required further detailed studies. We performed a longitudinal study on a farm of dromedary camel herd from 10th March until 7th April, 2019, in eastern Saudi Arabia. This is a closed management herd including a large number of colour-based breed animals and include animals of both sexes. We collected saliva and ocular swabs from 18% of the target animal population. Detection of the MERS-CoV-RNAs in these samples was conducted by the real-time PCR technique. We detected the viral RNAs in the saliva of and conjunctival swabs of some of the tested animals at 33%, 77% and 88% during the three-time points, respectively. Moreover, we also detected the viral RNAs in the conjunctival swabs at 11%, 22% and 33% at similar time intervals. Our results are suggesting the possibility of MERS-CoV shedding in the saliva and the ocular discharges of the infected dromedary camels. This explains, at least in part, the mechanism of transmission of MERS-CoV from animals to humans. More studies are needed for a better understanding of the transmission of MERS-CoV from animals to humans; thus, the risk of virus spread can be mitigated. 10.1111/zph.12816
    Low-Level Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus among Camel Handlers, Kenya, 2019. Munyua Peninah M,Ngere Isaac,Hunsperger Elizabeth,Kochi Adano,Amoth Patrick,Mwasi Lydia,Tong Suxiang,Mwatondo Athman,Thornburg Natalie,Widdowson Marc-Alain,Njenga M Kariuki Emerging infectious diseases Although seroprevalence of Middle East respiratory coronavirus syndrome is high among camels in Africa, researchers have not detected zoonotic transmission in Kenya. We followed a cohort of 262 camel handlers in Kenya during April 2018-March 2020. We report PCR-confirmed Middle East respiratory coronavirus syndrome in 3 asymptomatic handlers. 10.3201/eid2704.204458
    Evidence for camel-to-human transmission of MERS coronavirus. Azhar Esam I,El-Kafrawy Sherif A,Farraj Suha A,Hassan Ahmed M,Al-Saeed Muneera S,Hashem Anwar M,Madani Tariq A The New England journal of medicine We describe the isolation and sequencing of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) obtained from a dromedary camel and from a patient who died of laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV infection after close contact with camels that had rhinorrhea. Nasal swabs collected from the patient and from one of his nine camels were positive for MERS-CoV RNA. In addition, MERS-CoV was isolated from the patient and the camel. The full genome sequences of the two isolates were identical. Serologic data indicated that MERS-CoV was circulating in the camels but not in the patient before the human infection occurred. These data suggest that this fatal case of human MERS-CoV infection was transmitted through close contact with an infected camel. 10.1056/NEJMoa1401505
    Cross-sectional surveillance of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in dromedary camels and other mammals in Egypt, August 2015 to January 2016. Ali Mohamed,El-Shesheny Rabeh,Kandeil Ahmed,Shehata Mahmoud,Elsokary Basma,Gomaa Mokhtar,Hassan Naglaa,El Sayed Ahmed,El-Taweel Ahmed,Sobhy Heba,Fasina Folorunso Oludayo,Dauphin Gwenaelle,El Masry Ihab,Wolde Abebe Wossene,Daszak Peter,Miller Maureen,VonDobschuetz Sophie,Morzaria Subhash,Lubroth Juan,Makonnen Yilma Jobre Euro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin A cross-sectional study was conducted in Egypt to determine the prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in imported and resident camels and bats, as well as to assess possible transmission of the virus to domestic ruminants and equines. A total of 1,031 sera, 1,078 nasal swabs, 13 rectal swabs, and 38 milk samples were collected from 1,078 camels in different types of sites. In addition, 145 domestic animals and 109 bats were sampled. Overall, of 1,031 serologically-tested camels, 871 (84.5%) had MERS-CoV neutralising antibodies. Seroprevalence was significantly higher in imported (614/692; 88.7%) than resident camels (257/339; 5.8%) (p < 0.05). Camels from Sudan (543/594; 91.4%) had a higher seroprevalence than those from East Africa (71/98; 72.4%) (p < 0.05). Sampling site and age were also associated with MERS-CoV seroprevalence (p < 0.05). All tested samples from domestic animals and bats were negative for MERS-CoV antibodies except one sheep sample which showed a 1:640 titre. Of 1,078 camels, 41 (3.8%) were positive for MERS-CoV genetic material. Sequences obtained were not found to cluster with clade A or B MERS-CoV sequences and were genetically diverse. The presence of neutralising antibodies in one sheep apparently in contact with seropositive camels calls for further studies on domestic animals in contact with camels. 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.11.30487
    Epidemiological investigation of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in dromedary camel farms linked with human infection in Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates. Muhairi Salama Al,Hosani Farida Al,Eltahir Yassir M,Mulla Mariam Al,Yusof Mohammed F,Serhan Wissam S,Hashem Farouq M,Elsayed Elsaeid A,Marzoug Bahaaeldin A,Abdelazim Assem S Virus genes The objective of this research was to investigate the prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection primarily in dromedary camel farms and the relationship of those infections with infections in humans in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Nasal swabs from 1113 dromedary camels (39 farms) and 34 sheep (1 farm) and sputum samples from 2 MERS-CoV-infected camel farm owners and 1 MERS-CoV-infected sheep farm owner were collected. Samples from camels and humans underwent real-time reverse-transcription quantitative PCR screening to detect MERS-CoV. In addition, sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of partially characterized MERS-CoV genome fragments obtained from camels were performed. Among the 40 farms, 6 camel farms were positive for MERS-CoV; the virus was not detected in the single sheep farm. The maximum duration of viral shedding from infected camels was 2 weeks after the first positive test result as detected in nasal swabs and in rectal swabs obtained from infected calves. Three partial camel sequences characterized in this study (open reading frames 1a and 1ab, Spike1, Spike2, and ORF4b) together with the corresponding regions of previously reported MERS-CoV sequence obtained from one farm owner were clustering together within the larger MERS-CoV sequences cluster containing human and camel isolates reported for the Arabian Peninsula. Data provided further evidence of the zoonotic potential of MERS-CoV infection and strongly suggested that camels may have a role in the transmission of the virus to humans. 10.1007/s11262-016-1367-1
    Genetic Evidence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-Cov) and Widespread Seroprevalence among Camels in Kenya. Ommeh Sheila,Zhang Wei,Zohaib Ali,Chen Jing,Zhang Huajun,Hu Ben,Ge Xing-Yi,Yang Xing-Lou,Masika Moses,Obanda Vincent,Luo Yun,Li Shan,Waruhiu Cecilia,Li Bei,Zhu Yan,Ouma Desterio,Odendo Vincent,Wang Lin-Fa,Anderson Danielle E,Lichoti Jacqueline,Mungube Erick,Gakuya Francis,Zhou Peng,Ngeiywa Kisa-Juma,Yan Bing,Agwanda Bernard,Shi Zheng-Li Virologica Sinica We describe the first genome isolation of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Kenya. This fatal zoonotic pathogen was first described in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012. Epidemiological and molecular evidence revealed zoonotic transmission from camels to humans and between humans. Currently, MERS-CoV is classified by the WHO as having high pandemic potential requiring greater surveillance. Previous studies of MERS-CoV in Kenya mainly focused on site-specific and archived camel and human serum samples for antibodies. We conducted active nationwide cross-sectional surveillance of camels and humans in Kenya, targeting both nasal swabs and plasma samples from 1,163 camels and 486 humans collected from January 2016 to June 2018. A total of 792 camel plasma samples were positive by ELISA. Seroprevalence increased with age, and the highest prevalence was observed in adult camels (82.37%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 79.50-84.91). More female camels were significantly seropositive (74.28%, 95% CI 71.14-77.19) than male camels (P < 0.001) (53.74%, 95% CI 48.48-58.90). Only 11 camel nasal swabs were positive for MERS-CoV by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR. Phylogenetic analysis of whole genome sequences showed that Kenyan MERS-CoV clustered within sub-clade C2, which is associated with the African clade, but did not contain signature deletions of orf4b in African viruses. None of the human plasma screened contained neutralizing antibodies against MERS-CoV. This study confirms the geographically widespread occurrence of MERS-CoV in Kenyan camels. Further one-health surveillance approaches in camels, wildlife, and human populations are needed. 10.1007/s12250-018-0076-4
    Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Dromedary Camels in Africa and Middle East. Kandeil Ahmed,Gomaa Mokhtar,Nageh Ahmed,Shehata Mahmoud M,Kayed Ahmed E,Sabir Jamal S M,Abiadh Awatef,Jrijer Jamel,Amr Zuhair,Said Mounir Abi,Byarugaba Denis K,Wabwire-Mangen Fred,Tugume Titus,Mohamed Nadira S,Attar Roba,Hassan Sabah M,Linjawi Sabah Abdulaziz,Moatassim Yassmin,Kutkat Omnia,Mahmoud Sara,Bagato Ola,Shama Noura M Abo,El-Shesheny Rabeh,Mostafa Ahmed,Perera Ranawaka Apm,Chu Daniel Kw,Hassan Nagla,Elsokary Basma,Saad Ahmed,Sobhy Heba,El Masry Ihab,McKenzie Pamela P,Webby Richard J,Peiris Malik,Makonnen Yilma J,Ali Mohamed A,Kayali Ghazi Viruses Dromedary camels are the natural reservoirs of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Camels are mostly bred in East African countries then exported into Africa and Middle East for consumption. To understand the distribution of MERS-CoV among camels in North Africa and the Middle East, we conducted surveillance in Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. We also performed longitudinal studies of three camel herds in Egypt and Jordan to elucidate MERS-CoV infection and transmission. Between 2016 and 2018, a total of 4027 nasal swabs and 3267 serum samples were collected from all countries. Real- time PCR revealed that MERS-CoV RNA was detected in nasal swab samples from Egypt, Senegal, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia. Microneutralization assay showed that antibodies were detected in all countries. Positive PCR samples were partially sequenced, and a phylogenetic tree was built. The tree suggested that all sequences are of clade C and sequences from camels in Egypt formed a separate group from previously published sequences. Longitudinal studies showed high seroprevalence in adult camels. These results indicate the widespread distribution of the virus in camels. A systematic active surveillance and longitudinal studies for MERS-CoV are needed to understand the epidemiology of the disease and dynamics of viral infection. 10.3390/v11080717
    Co-circulation of three camel coronavirus species and recombination of MERS-CoVs in Saudi Arabia. Sabir Jamal S M,Lam Tommy T-Y,Ahmed Mohamed M M,Li Lifeng,Shen Yongyi,Abo-Aba Salah E M,Qureshi Muhammd I,Abu-Zeid Mohamed,Zhang Yu,Khiyami Mohammad A,Alharbi Njud S,Hajrah Nahid H,Sabir Meshaal J,Mutwakil Mohammed H Z,Kabli Saleh A,Alsulaimany Faten A S,Obaid Abdullah Y,Zhou Boping,Smith David K,Holmes Edward C,Zhu Huachen,Guan Yi Science (New York, N.Y.) Outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) raise questions about the prevalence and evolution of the MERS coronavirus (CoV) in its animal reservoir. Our surveillance in Saudi Arabia in 2014 and 2015 showed that viruses of the MERS-CoV species and a human CoV 229E-related lineage co-circulated at high prevalence, with frequent co-infections in the upper respiratory tract of dromedary camels. viruses of the betacoronavirus 1 species, we found that dromedary camels share three CoV species with humans. Several MERS-CoV lineages were present in camels, including a recombinant lineage that has been dominant since December 2014 and that subsequently led to the human outbreaks in 2015. Camels therefore serve as an important reservoir for the maintenance and diversification of the MERS-CoVs and are the source of human infections with this virus. 10.1126/science.aac8608
    Comparative analysis of the genome structure and organization of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) 2012 to 2019 revealing evidence for virus strain barcoding, zoonotic transmission, and selection pressure. Reviews in medical virology The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged in late 2012 in Saudi Arabia. For this study, we conducted a large-scale comparative genome study of MERS-CoV from both human and dromedary camels from 2012 to 2019 to map any genetic changes that emerged in the past 8 years. We downloaded 1309 submissions, including 308 full-length genome sequences of MERS-CoV available in GenBank from 2012 to 2019. We used bioinformatics tools to describe the genome structure and organization of the virus and to map the most important motifs within various regions/genes throughout the genome over the past 8 years. We also monitored variations/mutations among these sequences since its emergence. Our phylogenetic analyses suggest that the cluster within African camels is derived by S gene. We identified some prominent motifs within the ORF1ab, S gene and ORF-5, which may be used for barcoding the African camel lineages of MERS-CoV. Furthermore, we mapped some sequence patterns that support the zoonotic origin of the virus from dromedary camels. Other sequences identified selection pressures, particularly within the N gene and the 5' UTR. Further studies are required for careful monitoring of the MERS-CoV genome to identify any potential significant mutations in the future. 10.1002/rmv.2150
    Risk factors for serological evidence of MERS-CoV in camels, Kenya, 2016-2017. Sitawa Rinah,Folorunso Fasina,Obonyo Mark,Apamaku Michael,Kiambi Stella,Gikonyo Stephen,Kiptiness Joshua,Njagi Obadiah,Githinji Jane,Ngoci James,VonDobschuetz Sophie,Morzaria Subhash,Ihab ElMasry,Gardner Emma,Wiersma Lidewij,Makonnen Yilma Preventive veterinary medicine Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging viral disease and dromedary camels are known to be the source of human spill over events. A cross-sectional epidemiological surveillance study was carried out in Kenya in 2017 to, 1) estimate MERS-CoV antibody seropositivity in the camel-dense counties of Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Laikipia and Nakuru to identify, and 2) determine the risk factors associated with seropositivity in camels. Blood samples were collected from a total of 1421 camels selected using a multi-stage sampling method. Data were also collected from camel owners or herders using a pre-tested structured questionnaire. The sera from camel samples were tested for the presence of circulating antibodies to MERS-CoV using the anti-MERS-CoV IgG ELISA test. Univariate and multivariable statistical analysis were used to investigate factors potentially associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity in camels. The overall seropositivity in camel sera was 62.9 %, with the highest seropositivity recorded in Isiolo County (77.7 %), and the lowest seropositivity recorded in Nakuru County (14.0 %). When risk factors for seropositivity were assessed, the "Type of camel production system" {(aOR = 5.40(95 %CI: 1.67-17.49)}, "Age between 1-2 years, 2-3 years and above 3 years" {(aOR = 1.64 (95 %CI: 1.04-2.59}", {(aOR = 3.27 (95 %CI: 3.66-5.61)}" and {(aOR = 6.12 (95 %CI: 4.04-9.30)} respectively and "Sex of camels" {(aOR = 1.75 (95 %CI: 1.27-2.41)} were identified as significant predictors of MERS-CoV seropositivity. Our studies indicate a high level of seropositivity to MERS-CoV in camels in the counties surveyed, and highlights the important risk factors associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity in camels. Given that MERS-CoV is a zoonosis, and Kenya possesses the fourth largest camel population in Africa, these findings are important to inform the development of efficient and risk-based prevention and mitigation strategies against MERS-CoV transmission to humans. 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2020.105197
    Lack of serological evidence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in virus exposed camel abattoir workers in Nigeria, 2016. Euro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin BackgroundMiddle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a zoonotic threat of global public health concern and dromedary camels are the source of zoonotic infection. Although MERS-CoV is enzootic in dromedaries in Africa as well as the Middle East, zoonotic disease has not been reported in Africa. : In an abattoir in Kano, Nigeria, we tested nasal swabs from camels and investigated 261 humans with repeated occupational exposure to camels, many of whom also reported drinking fresh camel milk (n = 138) or urine (n = 94) or using camel urine for medicinal purposes (n = 96). : Weekly MERS-CoV RNA detection in January-February 2016 ranged from 0-8.4% of camels sampled. None of the abattoir workers with exposure to camels had evidence of neutralising antibody to MERS-CoV. : There is a need for more studies to investigate whether or not zoonotic transmission of MERS-CoV does take place in Africa. 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2018.23.32.1800175
    High MERS-CoV seropositivity associated with camel herd profile, husbandry practices and household socio-demographic characteristics in Northern Kenya. Ngere I,Munyua P,Harcourt J,Hunsperger E,Thornburg N,Muturi M,Osoro E,Gachohi J,Bodha B,Okotu B,Oyugi J,Jaoko W,Mwatondo A,Njenga K,Widdowson M A Epidemiology and infection Despite high exposure to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the predictors for seropositivity in the context of husbandry practices for camels in Eastern Africa are not well understood. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to describe the camel herd profile and determine the factors associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity in Northern Kenya. We enrolled 29 camel-owning households and administered questionnaires to collect herd and household data. Serum samples collected from 493 randomly selected camels were tested for anti-MERS-CoV antibodies using a microneutralisation assay, and regression analysis used to correlate herd and household characteristics with camel seropositivity. Households reared camels (median = 23 camels and IQR 16-56), and at least one other livestock species in two distinct herds; a home herd kept near homesteads, and a range/fora herd that resided far from the homestead. The overall MERS-CoV IgG seropositivity was 76.3%, with no statistically significant difference between home and fora herds. Significant predictors for seropositivity (P ⩽ 0.05) included camels 6-10 years old (aOR 2.3, 95% CI 1.0-5.2), herds with ⩾25 camels (aOR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.4) and camels from Gabra community (aOR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2-4.2). These results suggest high levels of virus transmission among camels, with potential for human infection. 10.1017/S0950268820002939
    The prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) antibodies in dromedary camels in Israel. Harcourt Jennifer L,Rudoler Nir,Tamin Azaibi,Leshem Eyal,Rasis Michal,Giladi Michael,Haynes Lia M Zoonoses and public health Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, MERS-CoV, was identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and as of January 29, 2018, there were 2,123 laboratory-confirmed MERS-CoV cases reported to WHO (WHO, 2018, https://www.who.int/emergencies/mers-cov/en/). Multiple studies suggest that dromedary camels are a source for human MERS-CoV infection. MERS-CoV-specific antibodies have been detected in the serum of dromedary camels across Northern Africa and across the Arabian Peninsula. Israel's geographic location places Israel at risk for MERS-CoV infection. To date, MERS-CoV-related illness has not been reported and the burden of MERS-CoV infection in the Israeli population is unknown. The seroprevalence of MERS-CoV-specific antibodies in Israeli dromedary camels is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of MERS-CoV seropositivity in dromedary camels in Israel. The prevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies in Israeli camels was examined in 71 camel sera collected from four farms across Israel by MERS-CoV-specific microneutralization (Mnt) assay and confirmed by MERS-CoV-specific immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Although this study cannot rule out potential antibody cross-reactivity by IFA, the presence of bovine coronavirus-specific antibodies do not appear to impact detection of MERS-CoV antibodies by Mnt. MERS-CoV neutralizing antibodies were detectable in 51 (71.8%) camel sera, and no association was observed between the presence of neutralizing antibodies and camel age or gender. These findings extend the known range of MERS-CoV circulation in Middle Eastern camels. The high rate of MERS-CoV-specific antibody seropositivity in dromedary camels in the absence of any reported human MERS cases suggests that there is still much to be learned about the dynamics of camel-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV. 10.1111/zph.12482
    Bactrian camels shed large quantities of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after experimental infection. Adney Danielle R,Letko Michael,Ragan Izabela K,Scott Dana,van Doremalen Neeltje,Bowen Richard A,Munster Vincent J Emerging microbes & infections In 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) emerged. To date, more than 2300 cases have been reported, with an approximate case fatality rate of 35%. Epidemiological investigations identified dromedary camels as the source of MERS-CoV zoonotic transmission and evidence of MERS-CoV circulation has been observed throughout the original range of distribution. Other new-world camelids, alpacas and llamas, are also susceptible to MERS-CoV infection. Currently, it is unknown whether Bactrian camels are susceptible to infection. The distribution of Bactrian camels overlaps partly with that of the dromedary camel in west and central Asia. The receptor for MERS-CoV, DPP4, of the Bactrian camel was 98.3% identical to the dromedary camel DPP4, and 100% identical for the 14 residues which interact with the MERS-CoV spike receptor. Upon intranasal inoculation with 107 plaque-forming units of MERS-CoV, animals developed a transient, primarily upper respiratory tract infection. Clinical signs of the MERS-CoV infection were benign, but shedding of large quantities of MERS-CoV from the URT was observed. These data are similar to infections reported with dromedary camel infections and indicate that Bactrians are susceptible to MERS-CoV and given their overlapping range are at risk of introduction and establishment of MERS-CoV within the Bactrian camel populations. 10.1080/22221751.2019.1618687
    High Prevalence of MERS-CoV Infection in Camel Workers in Saudi Arabia. Alshukairi Abeer N,Zheng Jian,Zhao Jingxian,Nehdi Atef,Baharoon Salim A,Layqah Laila,Bokhari Ahmad,Al Johani Sameera M,Samman Nosaibah,Boudjelal Mohamad,Ten Eyck Patrick,Al-Mozaini Maha A,Zhao Jincun,Perlman Stanley,Alagaili Abdulaziz N mBio Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), a highly lethal respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV), is an emerging disease with high potential for epidemic spread. It has been listed by the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) as an important target for vaccine development. While initially the majority of MERS cases were hospital acquired, continued emergence of MERS is attributed to community acquisition, with camels likely being the direct or indirect source. However, the majority of patients do not describe camel exposure, making the route of transmission unclear. Here, using sensitive immunological assays and a cohort of camel workers (CWs) with well-documented camel exposure, we show that approximately 50% of camel workers (CWs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and 0% of controls were previously infected. We obtained blood samples from 30 camel herders, truck drivers, and handlers with well-documented camel exposure and from healthy donors, and measured MERS-CoV-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), immunofluorescence assay (IFA), and neutralizing antibody titers, as well as T cell responses. Totals of 16/30 CWs and 0/30 healthy control donors were seropositive by MERS-CoV-specific ELISA and/or neutralizing antibody titer, and an additional four CWs were seronegative but contained virus-specific T cells in their blood. Although virus transmission from CWs has not been formally demonstrated, a possible explanation for repeated MERS outbreaks is that CWs develop mild disease and then transmit the virus to uninfected individuals. Infection of some of these individuals, such as those with comorbidities, results in severe disease and in the episodic appearance of patients with MERS. The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a coronavirus (CoV)-mediated respiratory disease. Virus transmission occurs within health care settings, but cases also appear sporadically in the community. Camels are believed to be the source for community-acquired cases, but most patients do not have camel exposure. Here, we assessed whether camel workers (CWs) with high rates of exposure to camel nasal and oral secretions had evidence of MERS-CoV infection. The results indicate that a high percentage of CWs were positive for virus-specific immune responses but had no history of significant respiratory disease. Thus, a possible explanation for repeated MERS outbreaks is that CWs develop mild or subclinical disease. These CWs then transmit the virus to uninfected individuals, some of whom are highly susceptible, develop severe disease, and are detected as primary MERS cases in the community. 10.1128/mBio.01985-18
    Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) neutralising antibodies in a high-risk human population, Morocco, November 2017 to January 2018. Euro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin BackgroundMiddle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) remains a major concern for global public health. Dromedaries are the source of human zoonotic infection. MERS-CoV is enzootic among dromedaries on the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and in Africa. Over 70% of infected dromedaries are found in Africa. However, all known zoonotic cases of MERS have occurred in the Arabian Peninsula with none being reported in Africa.AimWe aimed to investigate serological evidence of MERS-CoV infection in humans living in camel-herding areas in Morocco to provide insights on whether zoonotic transmission is taking place.MethodsWe carried out a cross sectional seroprevalence study from November 2017 through January 2018. We adapted a generic World Health Organization MERS-CoV questionnaire and protocol to assess demographic and risk factors of infection among a presumed high-risk population. ELISA, MERS-CoV spike pseudoparticle neutralisation tests (ppNT) and plaque neutralisation tests (PRNT) were used to assess MERS-CoV seropositivity.ResultsSerum samples were collected from camel slaughterhouse workers (n = 137), camel herders (n = 156) and individuals of the general population without occupational contact with camels but living in camel herding areas (n = 186). MERS-CoV neutralising antibodies with ≥ 90% reduction of plaque numbers were detected in two (1.5%) slaughterhouse workers, none of the camel herders and one individual from the general population (0.5%).ConclusionsThis study provides evidence of zoonotic transmission of MERS-CoV in Morocco in people who have direct or indirect exposure to dromedary camels. 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.48.1900244
    Lack of detection of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) nucleic acids in some Hyalomma dromedarii infesting some Camelus dromedary naturally infected with MERS-CoV. Hemida Maged Gomaa,Alhammadi Mohammed,Almathen Faisal,Alnaeem Abdelmohsen BMC research notes OBJECTIVE:The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is one of the zoonotic coronaviruses [Hemida Peer J 7:e7556, 2019; Hemida et al. One Health 8:100102, 2019]. The dromedary camels remained the only known animal reservoir for this virus. Several aspects of the transmission cycle of the virus between animals, including arthropod-borne infection, is still largely unknown. The main objective of the current work was to study the possibility of MERS-CoV transmission through some arthropod vectors, particularly the hard ticks. To achieve this objective, we identified a positive MERS-CoV dromedary camel herd using the commercial available real-time PCR kits. We collected some arthropods, particularly the ticks from these positive animals as well as from the animal habitats. We tested these arthropods for the presence of MERS-CoV viral RNAs. RESULTS:Our results showing the absence of any detectable MERS-CoV-RNAs in these arthropods despite these animals were actively shedding the virus in their nasal secretions. Our results are confirming for the first the failure of detection of the MERS-CoV in ticks infesting dromedary camels. Failure of the detection of MERS-CoV in ticks infesting positive naturally infected MERS-CoV camels is strongly suggesting that ticks do not play roles in the transmission of the virus among the animals and close contact humans. 10.1186/s13104-021-05496-w
    Genomic Sequencing and Analysis of Eight Camel-Derived Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Isolates in Saudi Arabia. Al-Shomrani Badr M,Manee Manee M,Alharbi Sultan N,Altammami Mussad A,Alshehri Manal A,Nassar Majed S,Bakhrebah Muhammed A,Al-Fageeh Mohamed B Viruses Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe respiratory illness in humans; the second-largest and most deadly outbreak to date occurred in Saudi Arabia. The dromedary camel is considered a possible host of the virus and also to act as a reservoir, transmitting the virus to humans. Here, we studied evolutionary relationships for 31 complete genomes of betacoronaviruses, including eight newly sequenced MERS-CoV genomes isolated from dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia. Through bioinformatics tools, we also used available sequences and 3D structure of MERS-CoV spike glycoprotein to predict MERS-CoV epitopes and assess antibody binding affinity. Phylogenetic analysis showed the eight new sequences have close relationships with existing strains detected in camels and humans in Arabian Gulf countries. The 2019-nCov strain appears to have higher homology to both bat coronavirus and SARS-CoV than to MERS-CoV strains. The spike protein tree exhibited clustering of MERS-CoV sequences similar to the complete genome tree, except for one sequence from Qatar (KF961222). B cell epitope analysis determined that the MERS-CoV spike protein has 24 total discontinuous regions from which just six epitopes were selected with score values of >80%. Our results suggest that the virus circulates by way of camels crossing the borders of Arabian Gulf countries. This study contributes to finding more effective vaccines in order to provide long-term protection against MERS-CoV and identifying neutralizing antibodies. 10.3390/v12060611
    Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Seropositive Camel Handlers in Kenya. Viruses Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory disease caused by a zoonotic coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Camel handlers, including slaughterhouse workers and herders, are at risk of acquiring MERS-CoV infections. However, there is limited evidence of infections among camel handlers in Africa. The purpose of this study was to determine the presence of antibodies to MERS-CoV in high-risk groups in Kenya. Sera collected from 93 camel handlers, 58 slaughterhouse workers and 35 camel herders, were screened for MERS-CoV antibodies using ELISA and PRNT. We found four seropositive slaughterhouse workers by PRNT. Risk factors amongst the slaughterhouse workers included being the slaughterman (the person who cuts the throat of the camel) and drinking camel blood. Further research is required to understand the epidemiology of MERS-CoV in Africa in relation to occupational risk, with a need for additional studies on the transmission of MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans, seroprevalence and associated risk factors. 10.3390/v12040396
    Some pathological observations on the naturally infected dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) with the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia 2018-2019. Alnaeem Abdelmohsen,Kasem Samy,Qasim Ibrahim,Al-Doweriej Ali,Al-Houfufi Ali,Alwazan Abdulatif,Albadrani Abdalaziz,Alshaammari Khuzayyim,Refaat Mohamed,Al-Shabebi Abdulkareem,Hemida Maged Gomaa The veterinary quarterly The natural MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels is understudied. Recent experimental studies showed no obvious clinical signs in the infected dromedary camels. To study the pathological changes associated with natural MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels. Tissues from three MERS-CoV positive animals as well as two negative animals were collected and examined for the presence of pathological changes. The screening of the animals was carried out first by the rapid agglutination test and then confirmed by the RT-PCR. The selected animals ranged from six to twelve months in age. The sensitivity of the latter technique was much higher in the detection of MERS-CoV than the Rapid test (14 out of 75 animals positive or 18% versus 31 out of 75 positive or 41%). MERS-CoV induced marked desquamation of the respiratory epithelium accompanied by lamina propria and submucosal mononuclear cells infiltration, epithelial hyperplasia in the respiratory tract, and interstitial pneumonia. Ciliary cell loss was seen in the trachea and turbinate. In addition, degeneration of glomerular capillaries with the complete destruction of glomerular tufts that were replaced with fibrinous exudate in renal corpuscles in the renal cortex were noticed. Expression of the MERS-CoV-S1 and MERS-CoV-N proteins was revealed in respiratory tract, and kidneys. To our knowledge, this is the first study describing the pathological changes of MERS-CoV infection in dromedary camels under natural conditions. In contrast to experimental infection in case of spontaneous infection interstitial pneumonea is evident at least in some affected animals. 10.1080/01652176.2020.1781350