A Cross Sectional Study of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Middle East respiratory syndrome is a respiratory and an enteric disease caused by a recently discovered virus called MERS-CoV. It is a zoonotic virus in which camels
are implicated as the major source of infection in humans. A cross-sectional study was conducted between January 2020 to August 2020, with the objectives of detection and characterization of MERS-CoV and determining the sero-prevalence and its association with risk factors. The study animals originated from different camel rearing area of Ethiopia: warder, Babille, Ginir, Metehara and Moyale districts. A total of 473 sera sample and 8 nasal swab samples were used for the study. The nasal swab were tested for the presence of specific viral RNA using qRTPCR and the sera samples were tested for the presence IgG antibody using indirect ELISA at NAHDIC in Ethiopia. Based on ELISA result, the overall seroprevalence of MERS-CoV in Oromia region (Babille, Metehara, Ginir and Moyale was 49.7% (235/473) (95% CI 45-54) while in Somali region(warder)was 100% (8/8). MERSCoV specific antibody highly prevalent in adult camels 73.2% (63/86) compared to young 44.4% (172/387) the difference was statistically significant (χ2=23.36 and P=0.001. The sero-prevalence of MERS-CoV specific antibody in camels originated from Metehara have 55.2% (84/152) which was slightly higher from Moyale 51.3% (77/150) and Ginir 39.4% (60/152) and the variation was statistically significant (χ2=16.60 and P=0.002). Result showed higher sero-prevalence of MERS-CoV antibody in camels of all study area districts which reflects the evidence of prior MERS-CoV infection while all 8 nasal swab samples originated from Warder districts showed negative result for MERS-CoV RNA and it might suggests absence of active circulation of MERS-CoV at the time of sampling. Therefore further study is required to determine its significance from animal and public health perspectives and further research should focus on characterization of the virus and identifying similarity between MERS-CoV viral isolates in neighboring countries and from the Middle East.


Ayelech Muluneh

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