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Understanding Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) transmission in dromedary camels is important, as they consitute a source of zoonotic infection to humans. To identify risk factors for MERS-CoV infection in camels bred in diverse conditions in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Morocco, blood samples and nasal swabs were sampled in February–March 2015. A relatively high MERS-CoV RNA rate was detected in Ethiopia (up to 15.7%; 95% confidence interval (CI): 8.2–28.0), followed by Burkina Faso (up to 12.2%; 95% CI: 7–20.4) and Morocco (up to 7.6%; 95% CI: 1.9–26.1). The RNA detection rate was higher in camels bred for milk or meat than in camels for transport (p = 0.01) as well as in younger camels (p = 0.06). High seropositivity rates (up to 100%; 95% CI: 100–100 and 99.4%; 95% CI: 95.4–99.9) were found in Morocco and Ethiopia, followed by Burkina Faso (up to 84.6%; 95% CI: 77.2–89.9). Seropositivity rates were higher in large/medium herds (≥51 camels) than small herds (p = 0.061), in camels raised for meat or milk than for transport (p = 0.01), and in nomadic or sedentary herds than in herds with a mix of these lifestyles (p < 0.005).


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