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Euro Surveill. 2017 Mar 16;22(11). pii: 30487. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.11.30487.

Cross-sectional surveillance of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in dromedary camels and other mammals in Egypt, August 2015 to January 2016.

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National Research Center, Division of Environmental Research, Giza, Egypt.
General Organizations of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Land reclamation (MoALR), Giza, Egypt.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), Egypt.
Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
EcoHealth Alliance, New York, New York, United States.


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.


Camel, Ruminants; Egypt; Equines; MERS-CoV; bats

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