• Open Access

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Antibody Reactors Among Camels in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2005

Authors

  • S. Alexandersen,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Centres for Animal Disease (NCAD), Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    • Correspondence:

      S. Alexandersen. National Centres for Animal Disease (NCAD), Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, 1015 Arlington Street, Winnipeg MB R3E 3M4, Canada.

      Tel.: +1 204 789 2102;

      Fax: +1 204 789 2038;

      E-mail: soren.alexandersen@inspection.gc.ca

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  • G. P. Kobinger,

    1. National Microbiology Laboratory (NML), Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
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  • G. Soule,

    1. National Microbiology Laboratory (NML), Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
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  • U. Wernery

    1. Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL), Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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Summary

We tested, using a low starting dilution, sequential serum samples from dromedary camels, sheep and horses collected in Dubai from February/April to October of 2005 and from dromedary camels for export/import testing between Canada and USA in 2000–2001. Using a standard Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) neutralization test, serial sera from three sheep and three horses were all negative while sera from 9 of 11 dromedary camels from Dubai were positive for antibodies supported by similar results in a MERS-CoV recombinant partial spike protein antibody ELISA. The two negative Dubai camels were both dromedary calves and remained negative over the 5 months studied. The six dromedary samples from USA and Canada were negative in both tests. These results support the recent findings that infection with MERS-CoV or a closely related virus is not a new occurrence in camels in the Middle East. Therefore, interactions of MERS-CoV at the human–animal interface may have been ongoing for several, perhaps many, years and by inference, a widespread pandemic may be less likely unless significant evolution of the virus allow accelerated infection and spread potential in the human population.

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