Skip to main content

Camels test positive for respiratory virus (MERS) in Kenya



MERS-CoV particles as seen by negative stain electron microscopy. Virions contain characteristic club-like projections emanating from the viral membrane.
Credit: Maureen Metcalfe/Cynthia Goldsmith/Azaibi Tamin 

A team of scientists surveyed 335 dromedary – single humped – camels from nine herds in Laikipia County, Kenya and found that 47% tested positive for MERS antibodies, showing they had been exposed to the virus.

A new study has found that nearly half of camels in parts of Kenya have been infected by the virus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and calls for further research into the role they might play in the transmission of this emerging disease to humans.

MERS was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment available. To date, it has infected 1,595 people in more than 20 countries and caused 571 deaths. Although the majority of human cases of MERS have been attributed to human-to-human infections, camels are likely to be a major reservoir host for the virus and an animal source of MERS infection in humans.

A team of scientists from the University of Liverpool and institutions in the USA, Kenya and Europe, surveyed 335 dromedary - single humped - camels from nine herds in Laikipia County, Kenya and found that 47% tested positive for MERS antibodies, showing they had been exposed to the virus.

Professor Eric Fèvre, Chair of Veterinary Infectious Diseases at the University's Institute of Infection and Global Health said: "Although Laikipia County camel density is low relative to more northern regions of Kenya, our study suggests the population is sufficient to maintain high rates of viral transmission and that camels may be constantly re-infected and serve as long term carriers of the virus. MERS in camels, it seems, is much like being infected by the common cold.

"The significance of this is not yet clear, because we don't know if the virus is universally zoonotic. While the risk of these camels spreading MERS to humans cannot yet be discounted, it appears to be, for now, very low as there have been no human cases diagnosed in Kenya.

"It might be that the mutations required to make this virus zoonotic have only evolved recently in the Middle East, where the human outbreaks have so far been concentrated."

Lead author Dr Sharon Deem, Director of the Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine, said: "Demand for livestock products, such as meat and milk, is rising across the globe and could offer poor farmers a route out of poverty as markets expand, but zoonotic disease remains a major obstacle to this goal.

"Further research to determine whether the MERS virus is dangerous to humans in Kenya and other sub-Saharan countries is critical."

Source:
University of Liverpool | ScienceDirect

Reference:
Chantal B. Reusken et al. Serological Evidence of MERS-CoV Antibodies in Dromedary Camels (Camelus dromedaries) in Laikipia County, Kenya. PLOS ONE, October 2015 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.014012

Chantal BEM Reusken, Bart L Haagmans, Marcel A Müller, Carlos Gutierrez, Gert-Jan Godeke, Benjamin Meyer, Doreen Muth, V Stalin Raj, Laura Smits-De Vries, Victor M Corman, Jan-Felix Drexler, Saskia L Smits, Yasmin E El Tahir, Rita De Sousa, Janko van Beek, Norbert Nowotny, Kees van Maanen, Ezequiel Hidalgo-Hermoso, Berend-Jan Bosch, Peter Rottier, Albert Osterhaus, Christian Gortázar-Schmidt, Christian Drosten, Marion PG Koopmans. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus neutralising serum antibodies in dromedary camels: a comparative serological study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2013; 13 (10): 859 DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70164-6

http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/coronavirus_infections/faq/en/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East_respiratory_syndrome_coronavirus

Popular posts from this blog

Gene therapy treats all muscles in the body in muscular dystrophy dogs

Human clinical trials are next step..
Source: www.healthcare.uiowa.edu
Muscular dystrophy, which affects approximately 250,000 people in the U.S., occurs when damaged muscle tissue is replaced with fibrous, fatty or bony tissue and loses function. For years, scientists have searched for a way to successfully treat the most common form of the disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which primarily affects boys. Now, a team of University of Missouri researchers have successfully treated dogs with DMD and say that human clinical trials are being planned in the next few years.

"This is the most common muscle disease in boys, and there is currently no effective therapy," said Dongsheng Duan, the study leader and the Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research at the MU School of Medicine. "This discovery took our research team more than 10 years, but we believe we are on the cusp of having a treatment for the disease."

Patients with Duchenne muscular dyst…

Schizophrenia symptoms linked to features of brain's anatomy?

Roger Harris/Photo Researchers, ISM/Phototake Using advanced brain imaging, researchers have matched certain behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia to features of the brain's anatomy. The findings, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, could be a step toward improving diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia.
The study, available online in the journal NeuroImage, will appear in print Oct. 15.

"By looking at the brain's anatomy, we've shown there are distinct subgroups of patients with a schizophrenia diagnosis that correlates with symptoms," said senior investigator C. Robert Cloninger, MD, PhD, the Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry and a professor of genetics. "This gives us a new way of thinking about the disease. We know that not all patients with schizophrenia have the same issues, and this helps us understand why."

The researchers evaluated scans taken with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a technique called diffusion ten…

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 for "mechanistic studies of DNA repair".

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2015 to Tomas Lindahl Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, UK
Paul Modrich Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, USA &
Aziz Sancar University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
“for Mechanistic Studies of DNA Repair"


The cells’ toolbox for DNA repair The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 is awarded to Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments.

Each day our DNA is damaged by UV radiation, free radicals and other carcinogenic substances, but even without such external attacks, a DNA molecule is inherently unstable. Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell’s …