Knowledge and practices regarding Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus among camel handlers in a slaughterhouse, Kenya, 2015.
Dromedary camels are implicated as reservoirs for the zoonotic transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) with the respiratory route thought to be the main mode of transmission. Knowledge and practices regarding MERS among herders, traders and slaughterhouse workers were assessed at Athi-River slaughterhouse, Kenya. Questionnaires were administered, and a check list was used to collect information on hygiene practices among slaughterhouse workers. Of 22 persons, all washed hands after handling camels, 82% wore gumboots, and 65% wore overalls/dustcoats. None of the workers wore gloves or facemasks during slaughter processes. Fourteen percent reported drinking raw camel milk; 90% were aware of zoonotic diseases with most reporting common ways of transmission as: eating improperly cooked meat (90%), drinking raw milk (68%) and slaughter processes (50%). Sixteen (73%) were unaware of MERS-CoV. Use of personal protective clothing to prevent direct contact with discharges and aerosols was lacking. Although few people working with camels were interviewed, those met at this centralized slaughterhouse lacked knowledge about MERS-CoV but were aware of zoonotic diseases and their transmission. These findings highlight need to disseminate information about MERS-CoV and enhance hygiene and biosafety practices among camel slaughterhouse workers to reduce opportunities for potential virus transmission.