High MERS-CoV seropositivity associated with camel herd profile, husbandry practices and household socio-demographic characteristics in Northern Kenya

I Ngere, P Munyua, J Harcourt, E Hunsperger, N Thornburg, M Muturi, E Osoro, J Gachohi, B Bodha, B Okotu, J Oyugi, W Jaoko, A Mwatondo, K Njenga, M A Widdowson

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article

Abstract

Despite high exposure to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the predictors for seropositivity in the context of husbandry practices for camels in Eastern Africa are not well understood. We conducted a cross-sectional survey to describe the camel herd profile and determine the factors associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity in Northern Kenya. We enrolled 29 camel-owning households and administered questionnaires to collect herd and household data. Serum samples collected from 493 randomly selected camels were tested for anti-MERS-CoV antibodies using a microneutralisation assay, and regression analysis used to correlate herd and household characteristics with camel seropositivity. Households reared camels (median = 23 camels and IQR 16-56), and at least one other livestock species in two distinct herds; a home herd kept near homesteads, and a range/fora herd that resided far from the homestead. The overall MERS-CoV IgG seropositivity was 76.3%, with no statistically significant difference between home and fora herds. Significant predictors for seropositivity (P ⩽ 0.05) included camels 6-10 years old (aOR 2.3, 95% CI 1.0-5.2), herds with ⩾25 camels (aOR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2-3.4) and camels from Gabra community (aOR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2-4.2). These results suggest high levels of virus transmission among camels, with potential for human infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere292
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Volume148
Number of pages9
ISSN0950-2688
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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