Surveillance and outbreak report Open Access
Like 0
This item has no PDF Download


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.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Geneva: WHO; 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/emergencies/mers-cov/en/
  2. Liljander A, Meyer B, Jores J, Müller MA, Lattwein E, Njeru I, et al. MERS-CoV Antibodies in Humans, Africa, 2013-2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016;22(6):1086-9.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2206.160064  PMID: 27071076 
  3. Alagaili AN, Briese T, Mishra N, Kapoor V, Sameroff SC, de Wit E, et al. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection in dromedary camels in Saudi Arabia. MBio. 2014;5(2):e00884-14.  https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00884-14  PMID: 24570370 
  4. Meyer B, Müller MA, Corman VM, Reusken CB, Ritz D, Godeke GJ, et al. Antibodies against MERS coronavirus in dromedary camels, United Arab Emirates, 2003 and 2013. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(4):552-9.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2004.131746  PMID: 24655412 
  5. Memish ZA, Cotten M, Meyer B, Watson SJ, Alsahafi AJ, Al Rabeeah AA, et al. Human infection with MERS coronavirus after exposure to infected camels, Saudi Arabia, 2013. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(6):1012-5.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2006.140402  PMID: 24857749 
  6. Pfefferle S, Oppong S, Drexler JF, Gloza-Rausch F, Ipsen A, Seebens A, et al. Distant relatives of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and close relatives of human coronavirus 229E in bats, Ghana. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009;15(9):1377-84.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1509.090224  PMID: 19788804 
  7. Lau SK, Li KS, Tsang AK, Lam CS, Ahmed S, Chen H, et al. Genetic characterization of Betacoronavirus lineage C viruses in bats reveals marked sequence divergence in the spike protein of pipistrellus bat coronavirus HKU5 in Japanese pipistrelle: implications for the origin of the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. J Virol. 2013;87(15):8638-50.  https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01055-13  PMID: 23720729 
  8. Corman VM, Ithete NL, Richards LR, Schoeman MC, Preiser W, Drosten C, et al. Rooting the phylogenetic tree of middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus by characterization of a conspecific virus from an African bat. J Virol. 2014;88(19):11297-303.  https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01498-14  PMID: 25031349 
  9. Raj VS, Mou H, Smits SL, Dekkers DHW, Müller MA, Dijkman R, et al. Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 is a functional receptor for the emerging human coronavirus-EMC. Nature. 2013;495(7440):251-4.  https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12005  PMID: 23486063 
  10. Annan A, Baldwin HJ, Corman VM, Klose SM, Owusu M, Nkrumah EE, et al. Human betacoronavirus 2c EMC/2012-related viruses in bats, Ghana and Europe. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013;19(3):456-9.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1903.121503  PMID: 23622767 
  11. Memish ZA, Mishra N, Olival KJ, Fagbo SF, Kapoor V, Epstein JH, et al. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in bats, Saudi Arabia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013;19(11):1819-23.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1911.131172  PMID: 24206838 
  12. Ithete NL, Stoffberg S, Corman VM, Cottontail VM, Richards LR, Schoeman MC, et al. Close relative of human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in bat, South Africa. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013;19(10):1697-9.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1910.130946  PMID: 24050621 
  13. Müller MA, Corman VM, Jores J, Meyer B, Younan M, Liljander A, et al. MERS coronavirus neutralizing antibodies in camels, Eastern Africa, 1983-1997. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(12):2093-5.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2012.141026  PMID: 25425139 
  14. Corman VM, Jores J, Meyer B, Younan M, Liljander A, Said MY, et al. Antibodies against MERS coronavirus in dromedary camels, Kenya, 1992-2013. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(8):1319-22.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2008.140596  PMID: 25075637 
  15. Hemida MG, Perera RA, Al Jassim RA, Kayali G, Siu LY, Wang P, et al. Seroepidemiology of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in Saudi Arabia (1993) and Australia (2014) and characterisation of assay specificity. Euro Surveill. 2014;19(23):20828.  https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES2014.19.23.20828  PMID: 24957744 
  16. Hemida MG, Chu DK, Poon LL, Perera RA, Alhammadi MA, Ng HY, et al. MERS coronavirus in dromedary camel herd, Saudi Arabia. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(7):1231-4.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2007.140571  PMID: 24964193 
  17. Perera RA, Wang P, Gomaa MR, El-Shesheny R, Kandeil A, Bagato O, et al. Seroepidemiology for MERS coronavirus using microneutralisation and pseudoparticle virus neutralisation assays reveal a high prevalence of antibody in dromedary camels in Egypt, June 2013. Euro Surveill. 2013;18(36):20574.  https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES2013.18.36.20574  PMID: 24079378 
  18. Reusken C, Haagmans BL, Koopmans MP. Dromedaris en ‘Middle East respiratory syndrome’: MERS-coronavirus in het ‘schip van de woestijn’. [Dromedary camels and Middle East respiratory syndrome: MERS coronavirus in the ‘ship of the desert’]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2014;158:A7806. PMID: 25248734 
  19. Reusken CB, Ababneh M, Raj VS, Meyer B, Eljarah A, Abutarbush S, et al. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) serology in major livestock species in an affected region in Jordan, June to September 2013. Euro Surveill. 2013;18(50):20662.  https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES2013.18.50.20662  PMID: 24342516 
  20. Reusken CB, Haagmans BL, Müller MA, Gutierrez C, Godeke GJ, Meyer B, et al. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus neutralising serum antibodies in dromedary camels: a comparative serological study. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013;13(10):859-66.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70164-6  PMID: 23933067 
  21. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FAOSTAT. Live animals. Rome: FAO; 2014. Available from: http://faostat3.fao.org/browse/Q/QA/E
  22. Central Administration of Veterinary Quarantine Offices. General Organization of Veterinary Services (GOVS) in Egypt; data untilSeptember30,2015.
  23. Chu DK, Poon LL, Gomaa MM, Shehata MM, Perera RA, Abu Zeid D, et al. MERS coronaviruses in dromedary camels, Egypt. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(6):1049-53.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2006.140299  PMID: 24856660 
  24. Corman VM, Müller MA, Costabel U, Timm J, Binger T, Meyer B, et al. Assays for laboratory confirmation of novel human coronavirus (hCoV-EMC) infections. Euro Surveill. 2012;17(49):20334. PMID: 23231891 
  25. World Health Organization (WHO). Laboratory Testing for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus. Geneva: WHO; 2013,. Available from: www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/MERS_Lab_recos_16_Sept_2013.pdf?ua=1.
  26. Corman VM, Eckerle I, Bleicker T, Zaki A, Landt O, Eschbach-Bludau M, et al. Detection of a novel human coronavirus by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Euro Surveill. 2012;17(39):20285. PMID: 23041020 
  27. Graham R. 10 July 2014. MERS-CoV PCR/sequencing primers. Protocol Exchange. doi:. https://doi.org/10.1038/protex.2014.022 .
  28. Tamura K, Stecher G, Peterson D, Filipski A, Kumar S. MEGA6: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis version 6.0. Mol Biol Evol. 2013;30(12):2725-9.  https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/mst197  PMID: 24132122 
  29. Adney DR, van Doremalen N, Brown VR, Bushmaker T, Scott D, de Wit E, et al. Replication and shedding of MERS-CoV in upper respiratory tract of inoculated dromedary camels. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014;20(12):1999-2005.  https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2012.141280  PMID: 25418529 
  30. Hemida MG, Elmoslemany A, Al-Hizab F, Alnaeem A, Almathen F, Faye B, et al. Dromedary Camels and the Transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Transbound Emerg Dis. 2017;64(2):344-53.  https://doi.org/10.1111/tbed.12401  PMID: 26256102 
  31. Kandeil A, Shehata MM, El Shesheny R, Gomaa MR, Ali MA, Kayali G. Complete Genome Sequence of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Isolated from a Dromedary Camel in Egypt. Genome Announc. 2016;4(2):e00309-16.  https://doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.00309-16  PMID: 27125484 
  32. van Doremalen N, Miazgowicz KL, Milne-Price S, Bushmaker T, Robertson S, Scott D, et al. Host species restriction of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus through its receptor, dipeptidyl peptidase 4. J Virol. 2014;88(16):9220-32.  https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00676-14  PMID: 24899185 
  33. Sharif-Yakan A, Kanj SS. Emergence of MERS-CoV in the Middle East: origins, transmission, treatment, and perspectives. PLoS Pathog. 2014;10(12):e1004457.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1004457  PMID: 25474536 

Data & Media loading...

Submit comment
Comment moderation successfully completed
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error