Camels and Camelids


Journal Edition: December 2017
Article DOI: 10.5958/2277-8934.2017.00036.4
Published On: 03-09-2018 18:58

M. Alfuwaires1, A. Altaher2, A. Alhafufi3 and M. Kandeel2,4
1Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, 2Department of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology,
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, Alhofuf, Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia
3Riyadh Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Saudi Arabia
4Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kafrelshikh University, Kafrelshikh, Egypt


In this study, we investigated the distribution of MERS CoV in Al-Ahsa region in Saudi Arabia by analysis of MERS CoV genomes isolated from Al-Ahsa as well as, tracking the virus in healthy and diseased camels. Serum and nasal swab samples were collected from different camels including sick camels submitted to an animal clinic, slaughtered camels at an abattoir in Al-Ahsa and samples from free ranging camel herds in the desert around Al-Ahsa oasis. Viral RNA was not detected in serum of all samples either healthy or sick camels. Nasal swabs were collected from two camel herds. The first herd showed 23% positive samples, while the other showed negative reaction to real time PCR. Bioinformatics analysis of 12 full genomes of MERS CoV isolated from Al-Ahsa region showed conserved sequence with no gaps in 9 genomes, while 3 genomes showed 1-3 differences. These data implies that MERS CoV is not horizontally widespread in dromedaries, and its highest occurrence was within isolated herds.
Key words: Dromedaries, MERS CoV