• Porcine blood used as ingredient in meat productions may serve as a vehicle for hepatitis E virus transmission.

      Boxman, Ingeborg L A; Jansen, Claudia C C; Hägele, Geke; Zwartkruis-Nahuis, Ans; Cremer, Jeroen; Vennema, Harry; Tijsma, Aloys S L (2017-09-18)
      The aim of the present study was to investigate whether the use of porcine blood(products) in food could be a risk for a hepatitis E virus (HEV) infection. HEV RNA was detected in 33/36 batches of (non-heated) liquid products and in 7/24 spray dried powder products. Contamination levels varied among the products, but were highest in liquid whole blood, plasma and fibrinogen reaching levels of 2.2×102 to 2.8×102 HEV genome copies per 0.2g. Sequence analyses revealed genotype 3 strains, of which two were 100% (493nt) identical to recently diagnosed HEV cases, although no direct epidemiological link was established. The industry provided information on processing of blood products in (ready-to-eat)-meat. From this, it was concluded that blood products as an ingredient of processed meat may not be sufficiently heated prior to consumption, and therefore could be a vehicle for transmission.
    • The sample of choice for detecting Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in asymptomatic dromedary camels using real-time reversetranscription polymerase chain reaction.

      Mohran, K A; Farag, E A B; Reusken, C B E; Raj, V S; Lamers, M M; Pas, S D; Voermans, J; Smits, S L; Alhajri, M M; Alhajri, F; et al. (2016-12)
      The newly identified Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes severe respiratory disease, particularly in people with comorbidities, requires further investigation. Studies in Qatar and elsewhere have provided evidence that dromedary camels are a reservoir for the virus, but the exact modes of transmission of MERS-CoV to humans remain unclear. In February 2014, an assessment was made of the suitability and sensitivity of different types of sample for the detection of MERSCoV by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for three gene targets: UpE (upstream of the E gene), the N (nucleocapsid) gene and open reading frame (ORF) 1a. Fifty-three animals presented for slaughter were sampled. A high percentage of the sampled camels (79% [95% confidence interval 66.9-91.5%, standard error 0.0625]; 42 out of 53) were shown to be shedding MERS-CoV at the time of slaughter, yet all the animals were apparently healthy. Among the virus-positive animals, nasal swabs were most often positive (97.6%). Oral swabs were the second most frequently positive (35.7%), followed by rectal swabs (28.5%). In addition, the highest viral load, expressed as a cycle threshold (Ct) value of 11.27, was obtained from a nasal swab. These findings lead to the conclusion that nasal swabs are the candidate sample of choice for detecting MERS-CoV using RT-PCR technology in apparently healthy camels.