Objective: To investigate the dynamic trend of specific antibody against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV in serum collected at various periods among employees in Guangzhou Xinyuan animal market.
Methods: Volunteers from employees of the animal market were recruited and their serum specific antibody against SARS-CoV were determined by enzyme linked immunesorbent assay (ELISA) method.
Results: Positive SARS-CoV specific IgG antibody was found 25.61% (n = 328), 13.03% (n = 238), 12.59% (n = 135), 5.04% (n = 139) and 9.43% (n = 53) among volunteers, which were sampled in May 2003, Dec. 2003, Jan. 2004, July 2004 and June 2005 respectively. No specific IgM antibody was found in all of those samples. Among 129 samples which were tested twice or more, 97 were all negative, 18 all positive, 13 changed from positive to negative but only one sample from negative to positive. When the volunteers were divided by the duration of their working experiences as short-term or long-term, those who had worked at animal market for less than or more then 6 months when being tested, the positive rate for long-term employees were relatively constant, however, all of the persons employed after January 2004, when the palm civets and raccoon dogs were culled from the market, were tested negative.
Conclusion: The prevalence of specific antibody against SARS-CoV in employees of the animal market were somehow related with the presence or absence of palm civet. No serum was tested positive for persons who were employed after palm civets and raccoon dogs were culled from market. This data indicated that the SARS-CoV might have been from the palm civets and raccoon dog, and the animal market seemed to serve as one of the sources of infection.