Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus antibody reactors among camels in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2005

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2014 Apr;61(2):105-8. doi: 10.1111/tbed.12212. Epub 2014 Jan 24.


We tested, using a low starting dilution, sequential serum samples from dromedary camels, sheep and horses collected in Dubai from February/April to October of 2005 and from dromedary camels for export/import testing between Canada and USA in 2000-2001. Using a standard Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) neutralization test, serial sera from three sheep and three horses were all negative while sera from 9 of 11 dromedary camels from Dubai were positive for antibodies supported by similar results in a MERS-CoV recombinant partial spike protein antibody ELISA. The two negative Dubai camels were both dromedary calves and remained negative over the 5 months studied. The six dromedary samples from USA and Canada were negative in both tests. These results support the recent findings that infection with MERS-CoV or a closely related virus is not a new occurrence in camels in the Middle East. Therefore, interactions of MERS-CoV at the human-animal interface may have been ongoing for several, perhaps many, years and by inference, a widespread pandemic may be less likely unless significant evolution of the virus allow accelerated infection and spread potential in the human population.

Keywords: Middle East; Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; antibodies; camels; coronavirus; dromedaries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Camelus / virology*
  • Coronavirus / immunology
  • Coronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Horses
  • Incidence
  • Middle East
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Sheep
  • Syndrome
  • United Arab Emirates / epidemiology


  • Antibodies, Viral