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Occupational Exposure to Dromedaries and Risk for MERS-CoV Infection, Qatar, 2013–2014 - Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Occupational Exposure to Dromedaries and Risk for MERS-CoV Infection, Qatar, 2013–2014 - Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Volume 21, Number 8—August 2015


Occupational Exposure to Dromedaries and Risk for MERS-CoV Infection, Qatar, 2013–2014



Technical Appendicies

Chantal B.E.M. Reusken1Comments to Author , Elmoubasher A.B.A. Farag1, Bart L. Haagmans1, Khaled A. Mohran1, Gert-Jan Godeke, Stalin Raj, Farhoud Alhajri, Salih A. Al-Marri, Hamad E. Al-Romaihi, Mohamed Al-Thani, Berend-Jan Bosch, Annemiek A. van der Eijk, Ahmed M. El-Sayed, Adel K. Ibrahim, N. Al-Molawi, Marcel A. Müller, Syed K. Pasha, Christian Drosten, Mohd M. AlHajri, and Marion P.G. Koopmans
Author affiliations: Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands (C.B.E.M. Reusken, B.L. Haagmans, V.S. Raj, A.A. van der Eijk, M.P.G. Koopmans)Supreme Council of Health, Doha, Qatar (E.A.B.A Farag, S.A. Al-Marri, H.E. Al-Romaihi, M. Al-Thani, A.M. El-Sayed, M.M. AlHajri)Agricultural Research Center, Cairo, Egypt (K.A. Mohran)Ministry of Environment, Doha (K.A. Mohran, F. Alhajri)National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands (G.-J. Godeke, M.P.G. Koopmans)Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands (B.-J. Bosch)Leawaina Camel Hospital, Dukhan, Qatar (A.K. Ibrahim, S.K. Pasha)Hamad Medical Centre, Doha (N. Al-Molawi)University of Bonn Medical Center, Bonn, Germany (M.M. Müller, C. Drosten)


We determined the presence of neutralizing antibodies to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in persons in Qatar with and without dromedary contact. Antibodies were only detected in those with contact, suggesting dromedary exposure as a risk factor for infection. Findings also showed evidence for substantial underestimation of the infection in populations at risk in Qatar.
Since Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was first detected in 2012, approximately 1,000 human infections have been reported to the World Health Organization, all linked to residence in or travel to countries on the Arabian Peninsula (1). Dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius) are thought to play a central role in MERS epidemiology because widespread evidence of MERS-CoV–specific antibodies and virus shedding in camels was found (2), and highly similar viruses have been detected in humans and dromedaries at the same location (3,4). These data suggest a direct zoonotic risk for MERS-CoV infection among persons in contact with camels. We describe a comparative serologic investigation in Qatar among persons with and without daily occupational exposure to dromedaries.
Dr. Reusken is a public health virologist at the Viroscience department of Erasmus Medical Center. Her research interests include viruses operating at the animal–human interface.


We are indebted to Benjamin Meyer for excellent technical assistance. We are grateful to the Joint Supreme Council of Health and Animal Resources Department of Ministry of Environment field investigation team for exceptional research assistance, in particular H. Gobashy and M. El-Maghraby, and to the Doha Camel slaughterhouse veterinarians, staff, and workers for their help. We also thank Ashraf Ayad, Ahmed Salem, Tarik Mosaad Ali al-sharbeeni, Thomas P. Samuel, Redentor Cuizon, Ronald R. Manaor, Khalid Yousif, and Farid Abdoudia for help with collecting samples in the field.


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Technical Appendix

Suggested citation for this article: Reusken CBEM, Farag EABA, Haagmans BL, Mohran KA, Godeke G-J, Raj VS, et al. Occupational exposure to dromedaries and risk for MERS-CoV infection, Qatar, 2013–2014. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Aug [date cited].
DOI: 10.3201/eid2108.150481
1These first authors contributed equally to this article.

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