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Keywords:

  • Coronavirus;
  • Hajj pilgrimage;
  • HCoV-EMC;
  • screening

Abstract

A cohort of 154 French Hajj pilgrims participating in the 2012 Hajj were systematically sampled with nasal swabs prior to returning to France, and screened for the novel HCoV-EMC coronavirus by two real-time RT-PCR assays. Despite a high rate of respiratory symptoms (83.4%), including 41.0% influenza-like illness, no case of HCoV-EMC infection was detected. Despite the fact that zoonotic transmission was suspected in the first few cases, a recent family cluster in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia suggests that the virus might show at least limited spread from person to person, which justifies continuing epidemiological surveillance.