Lack of nasal carriage of novel corona virus (HCoV-EMC) in French Hajj pilgrims returning from the Hajj 2012, despite a high rate of respiratory symptoms

Authors

  • P. Gautret,

    Corresponding author
    1. Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes (URMITE), Faculté de Médecine, WHO Collaborative Centre for Rickettsioses and Other Arthropod Borne Bacterial Diseases, Aix Marseille Université, UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095
    • IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
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  • R. Charrel,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
    2. EHESP French School of Public Health, Aix Marseille Université, IRD French Institute of Research for Development, Marseille, France
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  • K. Belhouchat,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
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  • T. Drali,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
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  • S. Benkouiten,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
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  • A. Nougairede,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
    2. EHESP French School of Public Health, Aix Marseille Université, IRD French Institute of Research for Development, Marseille, France
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  • C. Zandotti,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
    2. EHESP French School of Public Health, Aix Marseille Université, IRD French Institute of Research for Development, Marseille, France
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  • Z. A. Memish,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Mass Gathering Medicine, Public Health Directorate, Saudi Ministry of Health
    2. College of Medicine, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
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  • M. al Masri,

    1. WHO Collaborating Centre for Mass Gathering Medicine, Public Health Directorate, Saudi Ministry of Health
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  • C. Gaillard,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
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  • P. Brouqui,

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
    2. Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes (URMITE), Faculté de Médecine, WHO Collaborative Centre for Rickettsioses and Other Arthropod Borne Bacterial Diseases, Aix Marseille Université, UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095
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  • P. Parola

    1. IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille
    2. Unité de Recherche en Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Emergentes (URMITE), Faculté de Médecine, WHO Collaborative Centre for Rickettsioses and Other Arthropod Borne Bacterial Diseases, Aix Marseille Université, UM63, CNRS 7278, IRD 198, Inserm 1095
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Corresponding author: P. Gautret, IHU Méditerranée Infection, APHM Public Hospitals of Marseille, 13005 Marseille, France

E-mail: philippe.gautret@club-internet.fr

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.

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