Emerg Infect Dis 2019 May;25(5):927-935
Camel contact is a recognized risk factor for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection. Because specific camel exposures associated with MERS-CoV seropositivity are not fully understood, we investigated worker-camel interactions and MERS-CoV seroprevalence. We assessed worker seroprevalence in 2 slaughterhouses and 1 live-animal market in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, during 2014-2017 and administered an epidemiologic survey in 2016 and 2017. Across 3 sampling rounds during 2014-2017, we sampled 100-235 workers, and 6%-19% were seropositive for MERS-CoV at each sampling round. One (1.4%) of 70 seronegative workers tested at multiple rounds seroconverted. On multivariable analyses, working as a camel salesman, handling live camels or their waste, and having diabetes were associated with seropositivity among all workers, whereas handling live camels and either administering medications or cleaning equipment was associated with seropositivity among market workers. Characterization of high-risk exposures is critical for implementation of preventive measures.