Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Researchers find MERS-CoV related Coronavirus in Bats in Africa (map)

In an upcoming article in Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers are reporting that a coronavirus sample from a bat in South Africa is currently the closest match to the  MERS-CoV that has infected more than 90 people around the world since 2012. [1] The sample, PML/2011, was collected from a female Neoromicia zuluensis bat in 2011.  The genus Neoromicia is included in the Vespertilionidae bat family.  Because this sample was collected before the human outbreak, the authors suggest that MERS-CoV may have originated in bat populations in eastern or southern Africa and spread to the Arabian Peninsula. This new development means that surveillance for human MERS-CoV cases need to be expanded beyond the Arabian Peninsula into Africa as well.  Additional coronavirus research on Vespertilionidae bats in Kenya and surrounding countries is urgently needed.

 [1] Ithete NL, Stoffberg S, Corman VM, Cottontail VM, Richards LR, Schoeman MC, et al. Close relative of human Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in bat, South Africa [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2013 Oct. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1910.130946

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