Is it just us or do you feel like every February, a new virus drops?
According to Multiple Sources, Healthcare officials are warning physicians to be on the lookout for camel flu as soccer fans start coming back from the World Cup games in Qatar.
The UK Health Security Agency advised doctors to be on the lookout for patients suffering from fever and breathing difficulties, British news agency Metro reports. The Australian health ministry warned citizens returning from the 2022 FIFA World Cup “should be aware of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS),” the virus that causes camel flu.
That notice also lists coughing and diarrhea as symptoms of the potentially deadly infection for which no vaccine exists. Australian officials warn the “rare but severe respiratory illness” from the Middle East spreads “through close contact with camels carrying the virus or an infected person, or by consuming uncooked camel meat or unpasteurized camel milk.”
While not commonly found in humans, MERS has been fatal in 35% of cases reported to the World Health Organization. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since appeared in the United States, the United Kingdom, and roughly a dozen other countries outside the Middle East. Pneumonia sometimes results from infections.
English soccer fans started making their way back from Qatar after their team lost 2-1 to France on Saturday. Australia’s national team pulled off a stunning 1-0 win against Denmark on Nov. 30 but were sent packing following a Dec. 3 loss to Argentina. That same day, the U.S. team got knocked out of the tournament. Argentina battles Croatia on Tuesday for a trip to the championship game against the winner of France’s Wednesday match against Morocco.
More than 2.45 million people attended the first 48 World Cup matches in Qatar, by FIFA’s count.
What is Camel flu virus?
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) – referred to by some as camel virus – is a viral respiratory disease caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV). It was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Covid-19.
MERS is a zoonotic virus which means it is transmitted between animals and people. It has been identified and linked to human infections in dromedary camels in several member states in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.
Since the identification of the MERS in 2012, 27 Member States have reported cases of the virus to WHO under the International Health Regulations (2005): Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Islamic Republic of Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Tunisia, Türkiye, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Yemen.
Human-to-human transmission of MERS is possible but has occurred predominantly among close contacts and in healthcare settings. Outside the healthcare setting, there has been limited human-to-human transmission.
Approximately 80% of human cases have been reported by Saudi Arabia, primarily as a result of direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels or infected individuals in healthcare facilities, according to the WHO. Cases identified outside the Middle East are usually individuals who have been infected in the Middle East and then traveled to areas outside the region. A limited number of outbreaks have occurred outside the Middle East to date.
How are you protecting yourself and your family?