Middle East respiratory syndrome #coronavirus (#MERS-CoV) neutralising #antibodies in a high-risk #human #population, #Morocco, November 2017 to January 2018 (Euro Surveill., abstract)

[Source: Eurosurveillance, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) neutralising antibodies in a high-risk human population, Morocco, November 2017 to January 2018

Anass Abbad 1,2,7, Ranawaka APM Perera 3,7, Latifa Anga 1, Abdellah Faouzi 1, Nhu Nguyen Tran Minh 4, Sk Md Mamunur Rahman Malik 4, Nadia Iounes 2, Abderrahmane Maaroufi 1, Maria D Van Kerkhove 5, Malik Peiris 3,6, Jalal Nourlil 1

Affiliations: 1 Medical Virology and BSL-3 Laboratory, Institut Pasteur du Maroc, Casablanca, Morocco; 2 Laboratoire d’Ecologie et d’Environnement, Faculté des Sciences Ben M’Sik, Université Hassan II, Casablanca, Morocco; 3 School of Public Health, University of Hong-Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; 4 Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Cairo, Egypt; 5 Health Emergencies Programme, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; 6 HKU-Pasteur Research Pole, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China; 7 These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence:  Malik Peiris  ; Jalal Nourlil

Citation style for this article: Abbad Anass, Perera Ranawaka APM, Anga Latifa, Faouzi Abdellah, Minh Nhu Nguyen Tran, Malik Sk Md Mamunur Rahman, Iounes Nadia, Maaroufi Abderrahmane, Van Kerkhove Maria D, Peiris Malik, Nourlil Jalal. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) neutralising antibodies in a high-risk human population, Morocco, November 2017 to January 2018. Euro Surveill. 2019;24(48):pii=1900244. https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2019.24.48.1900244

Received: 14 Apr 2019;   Accepted: 06 Oct 2019




Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) remains a major concern for global public health. Dromedaries are the source of human zoonotic infection. MERS-CoV is enzootic among dromedaries on the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and in Africa. Over 70% of infected dromedaries are found in Africa. However, all known zoonotic cases of MERS have occurred in the Arabian Peninsula with none being reported in Africa.


We aimed to investigate serological evidence of MERS-CoV infection in humans living in camel-herding areas in Morocco to provide insights on whether zoonotic transmission is taking place.


We carried out a cross sectional seroprevalence study from November 2017 through January 2018. We adapted a generic World Health Organization MERS-CoV questionnaire and protocol to assess demographic and risk factors of infection among a presumed high-risk population. ELISA, MERS-CoV spike pseudoparticle neutralisation tests (ppNT) and plaque neutralisation tests (PRNT) were used to assess MERS-CoV seropositivity.


Serum samples were collected from camel slaughterhouse workers (n = 137), camel herders (n = 156) and individuals of the general population without occupational contact with camels but living in camel herding areas (n = 186). MERS-CoV neutralising antibodies with ≥ 90% reduction of plaque numbers were detected in two (1.5%) slaughterhouse workers, none of the camel herders and one individual from the general population (0.5%).


This study provides evidence of zoonotic transmission of MERS-CoV in Morocco in people who have direct or indirect exposure to dromedary camels.

©  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Keywords: MERS-CoV; Human; Serology; Seroprevalence; Morocco.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.