Medical staff across England have been put on alert for signs of the deadly camel flu as FIFA World Cup fans returned from Qatar, a report said. Cases of the camel flu could now rise due to the huge numbers of fans who flocked to Qatar for the tournament and who may have been exposed to camels, The Mirror reported.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) prompted doctors to look out for people suffering from breathing difficulties and a fever. The illness is deadlier than Covid-19, with over a third of its sufferers dying, compared to less than 4 per cent of Covid sufferers, the report said.
The Sun reported a briefing note sent out by UK’s health agency stating, “Clinicians and public health teams should specifically be alert to the possibility of MERS in returning travellers from the World Cup. The risk of infection to UK residents is very low but may be higher in those with exposure to specific risk factors within the region – such as to camels. MERS can be acquired from close contact with camels or from consuming camel products e.g., unpasteurised camel milk.”
The briefing also warned of “person-to-person transmission”, the report said.
In Qatar this year, there have already been two cases reported, both of which had been exposed to camels, it said.
Between April 2012 and October 2022, there have been 2,600 cases in 12 countries. Of those cases, 935 people died – 36 per cent, Mirror reported.
Before the World Cup tournament started, fans had been warned to stay away from the animals for fear of catching the disease, the report added.