Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus detected in air of Saudi Arabian camel barn

Date:
July 22, 2014
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Saudi Arabian researchers have detected genetic fragments of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus in the air of a barn holding a camel infected with the virus. The work indicates that further studies are needed to see if the disease can be transmitted through the air. MERS, a serious viral respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, has been identified in 699 people as of June 11, according to the World Health Organization; 209 people have died from the condition.

Saudi Arabian researchers have detected genetic fragments of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the air of a barn holding a camel infected with the virus. The work, published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, indicates that further studies are needed to see if the disease can be transmitted through the air.

Related Articles


MERS, a serious viral respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, has been identified in 699 people as of June 11, according to the World Health Organization; 209 people have died from the condition. An additional 113 cases occurring between 2012 and 2014 were reported by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health on June 3.

For the study, researchers on three consecutive days last November collected three air samples from a camel barn owned by a 43-year-old male MERS patient who lived south of the town of Jeddah, who later died from the condition. Four of the man's nine camels had shown signs of nasal discharge the week before the patient became ill; he had applied a topical medicine in the nose of one of the ill camels seven days before experiencing symptoms.

Using a laboratory technique called reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to detect gene expression, they found that the first air sample, collected on November 7, contained genetic fragments of MERS-CoV. This was the same day that one of the patient's camels tested positive for the disease. The other samples did not test positive for MERS-CoV, suggesting short or intermittent shedding of the virus into the air surrounding the camels, said lead study author Esam Azhar, PhD, head of the Special Infectious Agents Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Center and associate professor of medical virology at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.

Additional experiments confirmed the presence of MERS-CoV-specific genetic sequences in the first air sample and found that these fragments were exactly identical to fragments detected in the camel and its sick owner.

"The clear message here is that detection of airborne MERS-CoV molecules, which were 100% identical with the viral genomic sequence detected from a camel actively shedding the virus in the same barn on the same day, warrants further investigations and measures to prevent possible airborne transmission of this deadly virus," Azhar said.

"This study also underscores the importance of obtaining a detailed clinical history with particular emphasis on any animal exposure for any MERS-CoV case, especially because recent reports suggest higher risk of MERS-CoV infections among people working with camels," he added.

Meanwhile, he said, mounting evidence for camel-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV warrants taking precautionary measures: People who care for camels or who work for slaughterhouses should wear face masks, gloves and protective clothing, and wash their hands frequently. It is also important to avoid contact with animals that are sick or have tested positive for MERS-CoV. Those who visit camel barns, farms or markets should wash hands before and after contact with animals. In addition, pasteurization of camel milk and proper cooking of camel meat are strongly recommended.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. I. Azhar, A. M. Hashem, S. A. El-Kafrawy, S. S. Sohrab, A. S. Aburizaiza, S. A. Farraj, A. M. Hassan, M. S. Al-Saeed, G. A. Jamjoom, T. A. Madani. Detection of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Genome in an Air Sample Originating from a Camel Barn Owned by an Infected Patient. mBio, 2014; 5 (4): e01450-14 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.01450-14

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus detected in air of Saudi Arabian camel barn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722091557.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2014, July 22). Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus detected in air of Saudi Arabian camel barn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722091557.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus detected in air of Saudi Arabian camel barn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140722091557.htm (accessed January 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, January 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Disneyland Measles Outbreak Spreads To 5 States

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) Much of the Disneyland measles outbreak is being blamed on the anti-vaccination movement. The CDC encourages just about everyone get immunized. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

Growing Measles Outbreak Worries Calif. Parents

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) Public health officials are rushing to contain a measles outbreak that has sickened 70 people across 6 states and Mexico. The AP&apos;s Raquel Maria Dillon has more. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins