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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Dromedary Camels in Africa and Middle East

Center of Scientific Excellence for Influenza Virus, Environmental Research Division, National Research Centre, Giza 12622, Egypt
Center of excellence in Bionanoscience Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 80203, Saudi Arabia
Biotechnology Research Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 80203, Saudi Arabia
Nature Link, Sfax 3000, Tunisia
Department of Biology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid 22110, Jordan
Department of Life and Earth Sciences, Faculty of Sciences II, Lebanese University, Al Fanar 90656, Lebanon
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Makerere University, Kampala 7062, Uganda
Department of Genebank and Genetic Sequence, Forensic DNA Research and Training Center, Al-Nahrain University, Baghdad 10072, Iraq
Department of Biological Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 80203, Saudi Arabia
Princess Doctor Najla Saud Al-Saud Distinguished Research Center for Biotechnology, Jeddah 22252, Saudi Arabia
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, Cairo 11241, Egypt
King Fahad Medical Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah 80203, Saudi Arabia
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA
School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, 7 Sassoon Rd, Hong Kong, China
General Organizations of Veterinary Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Nadi Saed St. 1, Dokki, Giza 12618, Egypt
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Emergency Center for Transboundary, Animal Diseases, Dokki, Giza 12611, Egypt
Animal Health Services (AGAH), Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), Dokki, Giza 12611, Egypt
Human Link, Hazmieh 1109, Lebanon
Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(8), 717;
Received: 9 July 2019 / Revised: 1 August 2019 / Accepted: 2 August 2019 / Published: 5 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Viruses: Surveillance, Prevention, Evolution and Control)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: MERS coronavirus; surveillance; virus infection; epidemiology; virus transmission MERS coronavirus; surveillance; virus infection; epidemiology; virus transmission

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Kandeil, A.; Gomaa, M.; Nageh, A.; Shehata, M.M.; Kayed, A.E.; Sabir, J.S.M.; Abiadh, A.; Jrijer, J.; Amr, Z.; Abi Said, M.; Byarugaba, D.K.; Wabwire-Mangen, F.; Tugume, T.; Mohamed, N.S.; Attar, R.; Hassan, S.M.; Abdulaziz Linjawi, S.; Moatassim, Y.; Kutkat, O.; Mahmoud, S.; Bagato, O.; Abo Shama, N.M.; El-Shesheny, R.; Mostafa, A.; A. P. M. Perera, R.; K. W. Chu, D.; Hassan, N.; Elsokary, B.; Saad, A.; Sobhy, H.; El Masry, I.; P. McKenzie, P.; J. Webby, R.; Peiris, M.; J. Makonnen, Y.; A. Ali, M.; Kayali, G. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Dromedary Camels in Africa and Middle East. Viruses 2019, 11, 717.

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