The phylogeography of MERS-CoV in hospital outbreak-associated cases compared to sporadic cases in Saudi Arabia

Xin Chen, Dillon Charles Adam, Abrar Ahmad Chughtai, Sacha Stelzer-Braid, Matthew Scotch, Chandini Raina MacIntyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study compared the phylogeography of MERS-CoV between hospital outbreak-associated cases and sporadic cases in Saudi Arabia. We collected complete genome sequences from human samples in Saudi Arabia and data on the multiple risk factors of human MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia reported from 2012 to 2018. By matching each sequence to human cases, we identified isolates as hospital outbreak-associated cases or sporadic cases. We used Bayesian phylogenetic methods including temporal, discrete trait analysis and phylogeography to uncover transmission routes of MERS-CoV isolates between hospital outbreaks and sporadic cases. Of the 120 sequences collected between 19 June 2012 and 23 January 2017, there were 64 isolates from hospital outbreak-associated cases and 56 from sporadic cases. Overall, MERS-CoV is fast evolving at 7.43 × 10-4 substitutions per site per year. Isolates from hospital outbreaks showed unusually fast evolutionary speed in a shorter time-frame than sporadic cases. Multiple introductions of different MERS-CoV strains occurred in three separate hospital outbreaks. MERS-CoV appears to be mutating in humans. The impact of mutations on viruses transmissibility in humans is unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberv12050540
JournalViruses
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Hospital outbreaks
  • MERS-CoV
  • Nosocomial
  • Phylogenetics
  • Phylogeography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

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    Chen, X., Adam, D. C., Chughtai, A. A., Stelzer-Braid, S., Scotch, M., & MacIntyre, C. R. (2020). The phylogeography of MERS-CoV in hospital outbreak-associated cases compared to sporadic cases in Saudi Arabia. Viruses, 12(5), [v12050540]. https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050540