MERS-COV (68): ISRAEL, ANIMAL RESERVOIR, CAMELS, SEROLOGY, SURVEILLANCE
Posted on 06TH NOV 2017
tagged MERS-CoV, Israel
Date: Thu 1 Nov 2017
From: Dan David [edited]
Re: MERS-CoV (66): Burkina Faso, animal reservoir, camels, FAO, RFI
[The moderator's commentary in the above posting included a request for information on the MERS-CoV situation in Israel's dromedary camel population].
In response to the above request for information:
Studies, performed by the Virology Section in the Kimron Veterinary Institute, applying ELISA and VNT methods, have demonstrated the presence of antibodies in dromedary camels in Israel. Thus far, MERS-CoV has not been detected in nasal swabs.
During 2015-2016, a total of 477 nasal swabs from camels were collected in Israel's Negev region and analyzed for the presence of MERS-CoV RNA using Real Time RT-PCR for the UP-E amplicon. All nasal swabs were found negative for the presence of MERS-CoV genome, providing no evidence for active circulation, at least until 2016, of MERS-CoV in the Negev camels.
Dan David and Yevgeny Khinich
Division of Virology
Kimron Veterinary Institute
Bet Dagan, Israel
[We are very grateful to Drs David and Khinich for their first hand, authoritative information.
The detection of MERS-CoV antibodies in Israel's indigenous dromedary camels is regarded to be indicative of past infections. This is not surprising, in view of the confirmed presence of the virus in neighboring Jordan and Egypt, as well as the proximity of Israel's Negev desert to the territory of Saudi Arabia (30 km).
According to OIE's provisions, updated May 2017: "Positive PCR results for MERS-CoV or isolation of the virus from camels is notifiable to the OIE because MERS is an emerging disease with a significant public health impact." A "confirmed case" is defined as "a dromedary camel with laboratory confirmation of MERS-CoV infection, with or without clinical signs."
"Laboratory confirmation" has been defined as follows:
"A case may be laboratory confirmed by virus isolation or detection of viral nucleic acid. The presence of viral nucleic acid can be confirmed by 1) a positive RT-PCR result on at least 2 specific genomic targets; 2) a single positive target with sequencing of a 2nd target; or 3) a single positive target with positive result in a rapid MERS-CoV Ag test. Serological investigations are of little value as a high percentage of tested dromedaries possess antibodies to MERS-CoV"
As indicated by the Israeli researchers, all (477) nasal swabs collected from camels in Israel's Negev region during 2015-2016 were found RT-PCR negative. In view of the detected antibodies and considering possible, even if infrequent, contacts between the local (about 3500 head strong) dromedary camels in the Negev, most of them kept by Bedouins, and Jordan's and Sinai's (Egypt) camel populations, active surveillance, in particular sampling and testing of nasal swabs from young animals, deserves to be continued and intensified. - Mod.AS
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/promed/p/90.]
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