Posted on 06TH NOV 2017
tagged MERS-CoV, Israel

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

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

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See Also

MERS-CoV (66): Burkina Faso, animal reservoir, camels, FAO, RFI 20171029.5411777
MERS-CoV (64): Saudi Arabia, animal reservoir, human, camel milk 20171012.5375933
MERS-CoV (62): animal reservoir, camels, FAO, OIE, WHO 20171002.5354608
MERS-CoV (21): Egypt, animal reservoir, camel, ex Sudan, control, RFI 20170405.4948727
MERS-CoV (87): Jordan, animal reservoir, camelids, OIE 20160802.4385317
MERS-CoV (40): Egypt, animal reservoir, camel, ex Sudan, susp. 20160316.4097730
MERS-CoV (137): Saudi Arabia, Jordan, WHO 20151002.3680716
MERS-CoV (135): Jordan, Saudi Arabia 20150922.3660953
MERS-CoV (134): Saudi Arabia, Jordan, WHO 20150918.3654724
MERS-CoV (129): Saudi Arabia, Jordan, WHO 20150911.3635718
MERS-CoV (122): Jordan, Saudi Arabia, WHO 20150902.3616013
MERS-CoV (121): Jordan, Saudi Arabia 20150831.3613868
MERS-CoV (118): Saudi Arabia, Jordan ex Saudi Arabia ex Abroad, WHO, RFI 20150827.3605963
MERS-CoV (03): Saudi Arabia, new cases, new fatality, Jordan, WHO 20150107.3077259
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (76): Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE, ECDC assessment, WHO 20140604.2515846
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (47): Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, WHO 20140502.2442560
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (98): animal reserv/camel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia 20131213.2114362
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (31): Jordan, retro. case ID, WHO, RFI 20130617.1777989
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (17): Saudi Arabia, Italy ex Jordan, WHO 20130602.1751356
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (16): Italy ex Jordan, contact cases, WHO 20130602.1750425
MERS-CoV - Eastern Mediterranean (09): Saudi Arabia, WHO, Jordan 20130523.1733317