Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus has been persistent in the Middle East region since 2012. Abundant scientific evidence showed that dromedary camels are the primary host of the virus. Majority of human cases (i.e., 75% or 88%) are due to human-to-human transmission, while the others are due to camel-to-human transmission. Mathematical modeling of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus camel-to-camel transmission was lacking. Using the plug-and-play likelihood-based inference framework, we fitted a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered-susceptible model of camels to the reported human cases with a constant proportion of human cases from camels (i.e., either 25% or 12%). We considered two scenarios: (i) the transmission rate among camels is time-varying with a constant spill-over rate from camels to human or (ii) the spill-over rate is time-varying with a constant transmission rate among camels. Our estimated loss-of-immunity rate and prevalence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus infections among camels largely matched with previous serological or virological studies, shedding light on this issue. We recommended including dromedary camels in animal surveillance and control of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in Saudi Arabia which could help reduce their sporadic introductions to humans.
- iterated filtering
- Mathematical modeling
- Middle East respiratory syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics and Probability
- Health Information Management