MERS-COV (21): EGYPT, ANIMAL RESERVOIR, CAMEL, ex SUDAN, CONTROL, REQUEST FOR INFORMATION
Posted on 05TH APR 2017
tagged MERS-CoV, Egypt; Sudan
Date: Mon 3 Apr 2017
Source: Agri-Ahram [in Arabic, trans. Mod.AB, edited]
Veterinary quarantine in Abu Simbel, Aswan governorate, released a batch of Sudanese camels after the laboratory analysis conducted on samples taken from the animals confirmed they were free from all contagious diseases. However, the results showed that 60 camels were suspected of being infected with MERS-CoV and were retained in quarantine and placed under strict veterinary observation.
The port of Arqin al-Bari, south of Aswan province, received an imported shipment from Sudan. The shipment of imported camels, which includes about 3400 heads of live camels, was transferred to Abu Simbel city until completion of veterinary quarantine procedures.
The veterinary quarantine authorities took samples of the Sudanese camels and sent them to the competent central laboratories to ensure that the consignment of camels is free of epidemic diseases before allowing them to be released and put on markets.
[Byline: Mohamed Abulhassan]
[This is a preventive measure that aims at avoiding or at least limiting the risk of human contact with the animals supposedly contaminated with MERS-CoV.
Egypt often imports camels from Sudan and such finding is recurrently made. The relevance of such measure can be questioned as the imported animals are intended only for consumption. - Mod.AB
The following summary of a recent paper, presenting observations from Egypt on MERS-CoV in camels and other mammals during the period August 2015 to January 2016 (Ref 1) may add some useful background:
"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 1031 sera, 1078 nasal swabs, 13 rectal swabs, and 38 milk samples were collected from 1078 camels in different types of sites. In addition, 145 domestic animals and 109 bats were sampled.
"Overall, of 1031 serologically-tested camels, 871 (84.5 percent) had MERS-CoV neutralising antibodies.
Seroprevalence was significantly higher in imported (614/692; 88.7 percent) than resident camels (257/339; 5.8) (p less than 0.05). Camels from Sudan (543/594; 91.4 percent) had a higher seroprevalence than those from East Africa (71/98; 72.4 percent) (p less than 0.05). Sampling site and age were also associated with MERS-CoV seroprevalence (p less than 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 1078 camels, 41 (3.8 percent) 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."
It deserves to be mentioned that none of the 91 tested Egyptian bats was positive for MERS-CoV neutralising antibodies.
Subscribers may wish to access the full paper at http://www.eurosurveillance.org/images/dynamic/EE/V22N11/art22743.pdf.
Detailed results of similar surveillance activities which might have been applied in other Middle Eastern countries, where seropositive camels are known to be present without reported human infection, in case available, will be much appreciated.
Ali M, El-Shesheny R, Kandeil A , et al: Cross-sectional surveillance of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in dromedary camels and other mammals in Egypt, August 2015 to January 2016. Euro Surveill. 2017; 22(11): pii=30487. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2017.22.11.30487.
Maps of Egypt can be seen at http://www.geoatlas.com/medias/maps/countries/egypt/eg3r92t/egypt_pol.jpg and http://healthmap.org/promed/p/12468. - Sr.Tech.Ed.MJ]
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