Seroprevalence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus in dromedaries and their traders in upper Egypt
Introduction: Camel trade in Egypt depends mainly on importation. Seemingly healthy imported camels are responsible for the ingress of serious diseases into Egypt. A striking example of this concerning public health globally is the Middle East respiratory coronavirus (MERS-CoV) which causes case fatalities of over 34%. Here, we determined the seroepidemiological situation of the MERS-CoV in imported camels and their traders in Upper Egypt.
Methodology: Sera of sixty-three dromedaries and twenty-eight camel traders were recruited (January 2015-December 2016). The age, gender, and sampling locality of each sampled camel and human were obtained. Semi-quantitative anti-MERS-CoV IgG ELISAs which utilize the purified spike protein domain S1 antigen of MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV S1) were used to detect specific IgG antibodies against the virus.
Results: The data showed that 58.73% of imported camels and 25% of traders had antibodies specific to MERS-CoV. Interestingly, like seroreactive camels, all seropositive humans were apparently healthy without any history of developing severe respiratory disease in the 14 days prior to sampling. Having specific antibodies among the examined camel sera was significantly different (P < 0.0001) in relation to various sampling localities, gender and age groups. In contrast, the seropositivity rate of MERS-CoV IgG in humans did not differ significantly by any of the studied factors.
Conclusions: The current study provides the first serological evidence of occupational exposure of humans to MERS-CoV in Africa. Additionally, it reports that imported camels could be implicated in introducing MERS-CoV into Egypt. Accordingly, application of strict control measures to camel importation is a priority.
Copyright (c) 2020 Amal Sayed, Safaa Malek, Mostafa Abushahba
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