FIFA World Cup 2022: Football fans in Qatar are at risk of catching Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) infection, also known as Camel flu, according to World Health Organization (WHO) experts. Fifa is expected to draw nearly 1.2 million people from around the world and this massive gathering could trigger the spread of the virus.
In a study published in the journal 'New Microbes and New Infections', scientists have listed Camel flu as an infection risk during the four-week-long sporting event. Camels are known to be the origin of MERS, which is caused by a coronavirus.
Scientists, as per the study, have found that mass gatherings pose a threat of potential infectious disease spreading rapidly. Considered to be a deadlier cousin of the COVID virus, Camel flu has affected dozens in Qatar over the last decade. The virus kills up to a third of everyone who gets infected.
Apart from Camel flu, football fans are also face potential health-threatening diseases such as cutaneous leishmaniasis, malaria, dengue, rabies, measles, hepatitis A and B and travellers' diarrhoea.
As per WHO, the Camel flu virus could get transferred to humans from infected dromedary camels. Camel flu has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. The WHO also claims that human-to-human transmission is also possible.
Since 2012, 27 countries have reported Camel flu cases, which has led to 858 known deaths due to the infection. Symptoms of Camel flu include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Currently, there’s no vaccine or specific treatment is available, but are in development.
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