Thanks to Greg Folkers for sending the link to this report in Transboundary and Emerging Diseases: Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Antibody Reactors Among Camels in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2005. The summary:
We tested, using a low starting dilution, sequential serum samples from dromedary camels, sheep and horses collected in Dubai from February/April to October of 2005 and from dromedary camels for export/import testing between Canada and USA in 2000–2001.
Using a standard Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) neutralization test, serial sera from three sheep and three horses were all negative while sera from 9 of 11 dromedary camels from Dubai were positive for antibodies supported by similar results in a MERS-CoV recombinant partial spike protein antibody ELISA. The two negative Dubai camels were both dromedary calves and remained negative over the 5 months studied. The six dromedary samples from USA and Canada were negative in both tests.
These results support the recent findings that infection with MERS-CoV or a closely related virus is not a new occurrence in camels in the Middle East. Therefore, interactions of MERS-CoV at the human–animal interface may have been ongoing for several, perhaps many, years and by inference, a widespread pandemic may be less likely unless significant evolution of the virus allow accelerated infection and spread potential in the human population.