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Zoonoses Public Health. 2018 Sep;65(6):749-754. doi: 10.1111/zph.12482. Epub 2018 May 31.

The prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) antibodies in dromedary camels in Israel.

Author information

1
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases, Gastroenteritis and Respiratory Viruses Laboratory Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia.
2
Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University, Rehovot, Israel.
3
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases, Epidemiology Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia.
4
Bernard Pridan Laboratory for Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel.
5
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
6
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Division of Viral Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia.

Abstract

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.

KEYWORDS:

MERS-CoV; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; coronavirus; dromedary camels

PMID:
29855166
PMCID:
PMC6274617
DOI:
10.1111/zph.12482
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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