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MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) outside the Arabian Peninsula an One Health approach: Understanding the role of wildlife, livestock and human in the virus dynamic

Akhmetsadykov N., Ayelet G., Baubekova A., Ben Bencheikh M.N., Bourgarel M., Boussini H., Chevalier V., Chu D.K.W., El Berbri I., Fassi-Fihri O., Faye B., Grosbois V., Fekadu G., Maher W., Miguel E., Peiris M., Perera R.A.P.M., Roche B., Roger F., Shimekit D., Traoré A., Van Kerkhove M.D.. 2016. In : One-Health 2016 Abstract-book. Londres : Zoological Society of London, p. 38-39. International symposium, `One Health for the Real World: zoonoses, ecosystems and wellbeing¿, 2016-03-17/2016-03-18, Londres (Royaume-Uni).

One of the big paradoxes of the MERS-CoV epidemiology is the apparent lack of human cases in large parts Africa where the virus and an animal host, the dromedary camel, are present. Understanding the differences between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula (where MERS-CoV is now endemic) would provide crucial understanding on how to reduce zoonotic infection. We set up field protocols for estimating (i) the prevalence of MERS-CoV infection in camel populations and other sensitive species outside Arabian Peninsula, (ii) the 'at risk' farming practices that facilitate transmission between camels, (iii) infection variation pattern in both camels and humans. The first project phase consisted in a descriptive serological and virological mapping of MERS-CoV in Africa and central Asia in camel populations (i.e. dromedary and Bactrian).The second project phase consists in a longitudinal epidemiological monitoring (monthly time step) in camel populations from Morocco and Ethiopia (blood, swabs, urine, milk); complemented by a questionnaire based survey of camel owners' practices. Finally, in parallel a cross-sectional sero-prevalence survey in human, particularly camel owners and animal workers in abattoirs is conducted by the Institut Pasteur in Morocco. A cross-sectional sero-prevalence survey is e also conducted on bats in houses and 'oasis' close to farms in Ethiopia. Addressing these questions is crucial for developing recommendations for animal and human health institutions and countries.

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