Sparse evidence of MERS-CoV infection among animal workers living in Southern Saudi Arabia during 2012

Ziad A Memish, Ahmad Alsahly, Malak Al Masri, Gary L Heil, Benjamin D Anderson, Malik Peiris, Salah Uddin Khan, Gregory C Gray
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses 2015, 9 (2): 64-7
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is an emerging viral pathogen that primarily causes respiratory illness. We conducted a seroprevalence study of banked human serum samples collected in 2012 from Southern Saudi Arabia. Sera from 300 animal workers (17% with daily camel exposure) and 50 non-animal-exposed controls were examined for serological evidence of MERS-CoV infection by a pseudoparticle MERS-CoV spike protein neutralization assay. None of the sera reproducibly neutralized the MERS-CoV-pseudotyped lentiviral vector. These data suggest that serological evidence of zoonotic transmission of MERS-CoV was not common among animal workers in Southern Saudi Arabia during July 2012.

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