Unraveling the drivers of MERS-CoV transmission
Cauchemez S., Nouvellet P., Cori A., Jombart T., Garske T., Clapham H., Moore S., Mills HL., Salje H., Collins C., Rodriquez-Barraquer I., Riley S., Truelove S., Algarni H., Alhakeem R., AlHarbi K., Turkistani A., Aguas RJ., Cummings DAT., Van Kerkhove MD., Donnelly CA., Lessler J., Fraser C., Al-Barrak A., Ferguson NM.
Significance Since it was discovered in 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has infected more than 1,700 persons, one-third of whom died, essentially in the Middle East. Persons can get infected by direct or indirect contact with dromedary camels, and although human-to-human transmission is not self-sustaining in the Middle East, it can nonetheless generate large outbreaks, particular in hospital settings. Overall, we still poorly understand how infections from the animal reservoir, the different levels of mixing, and heterogeneities in transmission have contributed to the buildup of MERS-CoV epidemics. Here, we quantify the contribution of each of these factors from detailed records of MERS-CoV cases from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which has been the most affected country.