Qatari football fans may be at risk of MERS infection

Qatari football fans may be at risk of MERS infection

According to World Health Organization WHO experts, Qatari football fans are at risk of catching Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS infection, which is also known as Camel flu. Fifa is expected to draw more than 1.2 million people from around the world, and this massive gathering could cause the spread of the disease.

Scientists have listed Camel flu as an infection risk during the four week long sporting event, according to a study published in the journal New Microbes and New Infections. Camels are known to be the origin of MERS, which is caused by a coronavirus.

Scientists have discovered that mass gatherings pose a threat of infectious disease spreading rapidly. Over the last decade, the Camel flu has affected dozens in Qatar, considered to be a deadlier cousin of the COVID virus. The virus kills up to a third of everyone who gets infected.

Apart from Camel flu, football fans are also facing potential health-threatening diseases such as leishmaniasis, malaria, dengue, rabies, measles, hepatitis A and B and travellers' diarrhoea.

As per WHO, the Camel flu virus could be transferred from infected dromedary camels to humans. Camel flu has been identified in dromedaries in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Human-to-human transmission is also possible, according to the WHO.

Since 2012, 27 countries have reported Camel flu cases, which has resulted in 858 deaths due to the infection. Symptoms of the Camel flu include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment available, but are in development.