We have been asked several times whether other endemic coronaviridae exist in Saudia Arabia. As in the United States and nearly all other locations in the world, the answer is yes:
- Coronaviridae represents a huge genus of viruses known to infect a large variety of animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, cattle, mice, turkeys, chickens, and of course, humans.
- The SARS virus is a member of this genus, as well as the recent report of novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia and the UK.
- Coronavirus infection in humans are generally categorized as respiratory or enteric. Respiratory coronavirus disease is forecastable, and occasionally is associated with severe lower respiratory tract disease. The Ascel Bio Black Canyon Forecast Station has routinely provided this forecast for their clients over the last several years. Enteric coronavirus disease in humans is also forecastable, however it is associated with lesser disruptive impact to healthcare infrastructure. For KSA, we forecast that routine, endemic coronavirus respiratory disease activity levels will peak in the latter half of February and into March.
- Hajj participants in the past have been sampled. And as expected, coronavirus was detected in these samples, albeit at a relatively low level. Worldwide, coronavirus has not been a documented infectious disruptor (i.e. > IDIS Cat 2) except under settings of rapid emergence such as the events of SARS.
- It is important to note that researchers have, since 1990, documented coronaviridae in both domestic and wild felines in KSA.
- We re-emphasize the current situation with novel coronavirus is unlikely to be a true disruptive threat to the Hajj later this month based on the information seen thus far.
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Kheyami AM, Nakagomi T, Nakagomi O, Getty B, Hart CA, Cunliffe NA. Detection of coronaviruses in children with acute gastroenteritis in Maddina, Saudi Arabia. Ann Trop Paediatr. 2010;30(1):45-50.
Ostrowski S, Van Vuuren M, Lenain DM, Durand A. A serologic survey of wild felids from central west Saudi Arabia. J Wildl Dis. 2003 Jul;39(3):696-701.
Memish ZA, Assiri AM, Alshehri M, Hussain R, Alomar I. The prevalance of respiratory viruses among healthcare workers serving pilgrims in Makkah during the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2012 Jan;10(1):18-24. Epub 2011 Dec 23.