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Qatar World Cup fans at risk of ‘camel flu’ infection: Report

The World Health Organization (WHO)-backed experts have warned that the FIFA World Cup, which draws a significant amount of people from around the world, may also draw several infections like coronavirus, monkeypox, and a deadlier member of the Covid gang known as ‘camel flu’ or Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

In a study that was published in the journal New Microbes and New Infections, researchers discovered that while football fans from all over the world are travelling to Qatar to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the large crowd ‘unavoidably poses potential infectious disease risks’ for the players, the fans, the locals, and the countries where the team is from.

The study found that cutaneous leishmaniasis, malaria, dengue, rabies, measles, hepatitis A and B, and traveler’s diarrhoea were among the other ailments that fans were at risk of contracting. The WHO recently named MERS as one of the viruses with the potential to start a pandemic in the future. One of the greatest worldwide events since the COVID-19 epidemic, about 1.2 million spectators from all around the globe will travel to Qatar to watch the quadrennial football competition. This will increase the 2.8 million people already residing in the Gulf country.

Despite the fact that Qatar has prepared its health system for such an event, the report notes the importance of ongoing observation and research on the spread of illnesses. ‘To reduce the dangers stated above, tournament attendees should be current on routine immunizations and follow the guidelines for healthy food and beverage intake,’ it said.

Travelers to Qatar for the World Cup have also been warned not to contact camels, which are thought to be the source of the fatal sickness. According to a piece on the UK-based scientific website IFLScience, MERS was initially discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, which borders Qatar, and has already resulted in 2,600 cases and 935 fatalities in 27 different countries. While the majority of MERS infections are thought to be asymptomatic or only result in minor symptoms like fever, breathlessness, and coughing, those with comorbidities are more likely to develop severe infections.


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