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Keywords:

  • Coronavirus;
  • zoonoses;
  • occupational exposure;
  • communicable diseases, emerging;
  • seroepidemiological studies

Summary

Zoonotic diseases continue to emerge and threaten both human and animal health. Overcrowded shelters and breeding kennels create the perfect environment for amplified infectious disease transmission among dogs and present a critical opportunity for zoonotic pathogens to emerge and infect people who work in close contact with dogs. Coronaviruses’ widespread prevalence, extensive host range, various disease manifestations and increased frequency of recombination events all underline their potential for interspecies transmission (Methods Mol. Biol. 2008, 454, 43). The objectives of this study were to determine whether people with occupational contact with dogs were more likely to have antibodies against canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV) compared to persons with no dog exposure. A seroepidemiological cohort study was completed, for which 302 canine-exposed and 99 non-canine-exposed study subjects enrolled in the study by providing a serum sample and completing a self-administered questionnaire. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to detect human antibodies against CRCoV while controlling for cross-reacting antibodies against the human coronavirus OC43. All study subjects were negative for antibodies against CRCoV by this competitive ELISA. This study supports the premise that humans are not at risk for CRCoV infections; however, infrequent cross-species transmission of CRCoV cannot be ruled out.