No serologic evidence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection among camel farmers exposed to highly seropositive camel herds: a household linked study, Kenya, 2013

Peninah Munyua, Victor Max Corman, Austine Bitek, Eric Osoro, Benjamin Meyer, Marcel A Müller, Erik Lattwein, S M Thumbi, Rees Murithi, Marc-Alain Widdowson, Christian Drosten, M Kariuki Njenga

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

Abstract

AbstractHigh seroprevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) among camels has been reported in Kenya and other countries in Africa. To date, the only report of MERS-CoV seropositivity among humans in Kenya is of two livestock keepers with no known contact with camels. We assessed whether persons exposed to seropositive camels at household level had serological evidence of infection. In 2013, 760 human and 879 camel sera were collected from 275 and 85 households respectively in Marsabit County. Data on human and animal demographics and type of contact with camels were collected. Human and camel sera were tested for anti-MERS-CoV IgG using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test. Human samples were confirmed by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with seropositivity. The median age of persons sampled was 30 years (range: 5-90) and 50% were males. A quarter (197/760) of the participants reported having had contact with camels defined as milking, feeding, watering, slaughtering, or herding. Of the human sera, 18 (2.4%) were positive on ELISA but negative by PRNT. Of the camel sera, 791 (90%) were positive on ELISA. On univariate analysis, higher prevalence was observed in female and older camels over 4 years of age (P < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, only age remained significantly associated with increased odds of seropositivity. Despite high seroprevalence among camels, there was no serological confirmation of MERS-CoV infection among camel pastoralists in Marsabit County. The high seropositivity suggests that MERS-CoV or other closely related virus continues to circulate in camels and highlights ongoing potential for animal-to-human transmission.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume96
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1318-1324
Number of pages7
ISSN0002-9637
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral/blood
  • Camelus/virology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Reservoirs/veterinary
  • Farmers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G/blood
  • Kenya/epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/isolation & purification
  • Prevalence
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult

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