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Global status of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in dromedary camels: a systematic review

  • R. S. Sikkema (a1), E. A. B. A. Farag (a2), Mazharul Islam (a3), Muzzamil Atta (a3), C. B. E. M. Reusken (a1), Mohd M. Al-Hajri (a2) and M. P. G. Koopmans (a1)...
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

Dromedary camels have been shown to be the main reservoir for human Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) infections. This systematic review aims to compile and analyse all published data on MERS-coronavirus (CoV) in the global camel population to provide an overview of current knowledge on the distribution, spread and risk factors of infections in dromedary camels. We included original research articles containing laboratory evidence of MERS-CoV infections in dromedary camels in the field from 2013 to April 2018. In general, camels only show minor clinical signs of disease after being infected with MERS-CoV. Serological evidence of MERS-CoV in camels has been found in 20 countries, with molecular evidence for virus circulation in 13 countries. The seroprevalence of MERS-CoV antibodies increases with age in camels, while the prevalence of viral shedding as determined by MERS-CoV RNA detection in nasal swabs decreases. In several studies, camels that were sampled at animal markets or quarantine facilities were seropositive more often than camels at farms as well as imported camels vs. locally bred camels. Some studies show a relatively higher seroprevalence and viral detection during the cooler winter months. Knowledge of the animal reservoir of MERS-CoV is essential to develop intervention and control measures to prevent human infections.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: R. S. Sikkema, E-mail: r.sikkema@erasmusmc.nl

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Authors contributed equally.

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References

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