Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: Its Occurrence, Aetiology, Epidemiology, Associated Clinicopathological Findings, Diagnosis, Prevention and Control in Humans and Animals: An Overview
Keywords:camels; coronavirus; humans; Middle East Respiratory Syndrome; zoonosis
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is a serious zoonotic disease. It is characterized by severe infection of the lower respiratory pathway in humans. Dromedary camels are considered to be the likeliest source of the very pathogenic aetiologic agent, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Although, the first case of MERS-CoV was initially identified in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in September 2012, most of the reported cases have been detected in Arabian Peninsula but worthy of note is that travel-associated MERS cases have been reported around the world especially in Europe, Asia, Africa and North-America. This virus is very endemic in camel populations of East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula but worryingly, the zoonotic transmission of MERS-CoV are now well reported. It is diagnosed in camels using IgG immunofluorescence assay, protein microarray and virus neutralisation assay Diagnosis in humans is based on chest radiographs and computed tomographic scans but confirmatory diagnosis of suspected MERS patients could be done by taking a intratracheal aspirate for detection test of MERS-CoV RNA positive real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assays. The major control measures of MERS-CoV spread include strict regulation of camel movement, regular herd screening and culling of infected camels.
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