Risk factors for MERS coronavirus infection in dromedary camels in Ethiopia, Morocco and Burkina Faso, 2015

Miguel E, Chevalier V, Ayelet G, Bencheikh M N, Boussini H, Chu D, El Berbri I, Fassi-Fihri O, Faye B, Grosbois V, Fekadu G, Perera M, Traore A, Ty So­, Cy Ng­, Roger F  and Peiris M­. Eurosurveillance in press

Crédit photo  Eve Miguel


Dromedary camels are the source of zoonotic infection with MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and therefore it is important to understand the transmission dynamics of this virus in camel herds. Blood samples and nasal swabs were collected between January and March 2015 and tested virologically to identify factors contributing to variations in MERS-CoV seropositivity  and viral RNA detection rates in camels bred in diverse farming conditions in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Morocco. MERS-CoV RNA was detected at a relatively high rate in Ethiopia 15.7% (95% CI : 8.2-28.0 ), followed by Burkina Faso 12.2 % (95% CI : 7-20.4) and Morocco 7.6% (95% CI :1.9-26.1). Seropositivity rates  were higher (i) in large / medium herds than in small herds; (ii) in camels raised for fattening (meat) or milk production than in camels used for  transport, and (iii) in nomadic herds than in sedentary or mixed herds. The viral RNA detection rate was higher in young camels and in camels bred for milk or meat than in camels used for transport.

Key words : herd size, density, milking activities, nomadic, sedentary, West – East gradient



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