What is the camel virus that threatens the French team before the World Cup final in Qatar

The “Camel Virus” or MERS-CoV could be altering the Qatar soccer world cup because, according to some rumors, it has affected some members of the French team. However, no case has been confirmed and the news talks about non-specific symptoms that could be due to any other infectious condition.

This coronavirus, predecessor of SARS-CoV-2, the one that causes Covid-19, was discovered in 2012, has a high fatality rate and before the competition began, the WHO had already warned fans to travel to the country. to watch for possible symptoms.

Concerns about Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) appear to be spreading on social media. But how concerned should we be about MERS? Is the coronavirus that causes MERS spreading among the crowds at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and among those returning to their home countries? Or are people confusing this coronavirus with that other coronavirus?

What is camel virus?


“MERS or Middle East respiratory syndrome is a disease caused by a coronavirus. Like most of the infections caused by these viruses, they are of zoonotic origin, that is, they are transmitted from animals to humans through close contact,” he told the Science Media Center Jacob Lorenzo-Moralesof the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands of the University of La Laguna.

Where it appeared?


This strain of coronavirus was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012, hence the name Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). It is believed that its origin could be animal, that is, a zoonotic infection that began to be transmitted from animals to people. The origins of the virus are not well known but it is believed to have originated in bats and was transmitted to camels. The latter are the reservoir of the virus.

How is it transmitted?


Yes, but it doesn’t do it easily. Close contact with the affected person is needed, such as a doctor or nurse would have when caring for an affected person without a protective mask.

In the case of MERS, adds Lorenzo-Morales, the virus is transmitted by contact with infected dromedaries and “very sporadically person-to-person transmission has been seen. The person who infects usually shows symptoms of infection.

What are symptoms?


The infection can go undetected (without symptoms), cause mild respiratory problems, and even cause death from an acute infection. It is normal to present with fever, cough and breathing difficulties. It sometimes produces gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly diarrhoea. 36% of reported MERS cases have resulted in patient death. In general, it is lethal in the elderly or with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, kidney failure, cancer, transplant recipients…

It is lethal in the elderly or with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, kidney failure, cancer, transplant recipients…

This disease has a fatality rate of 35%, according to WHO data. In the outbreaks registered to date, “both in the endemic area of ​​Arabia and in events exported to other countries, such as the outbreak in South Korea in 2015, it has always been reported that the start of transmission chains has started by direct contact with dromedaries and the infected patients then showed symptoms compatible with MERS, “says the expert.

Are there recent cases?


During 2022 there have been two cases of MERS detected in Qatar, between March and April. «In the case of the players of the French team, it will be necessary to study whether it is true that they are infected by MERS and not by another virus, it would be necessary to confirm which pathogen they suffer from and if they have had contact with dromedaries“, recognize.

In any case, he adds “it will be necessary to be vigilant about possible new cases, but also to raise awareness among the people present in this region about proper hand washing, avoiding contact with dromedaries and monitoring possible symptoms compatible with MERS and, to the extent As much as possible, avoid crowds. We must be cautious and appeal to common sense. Above all, those people who are in the region should avoid contact with dromedaries and maintain good hand hygiene and safe distances.

The players of the French team, Upamecano, Rabiot, and Coman could be affected

How many countries are affected?


Most cases (85%) have been identified in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula. But cases have also been reported outside the Middle East. The vast majority are travelers who acquired the virus there and exported the disease to Europe, the United States and also Asia. In South Korea, it is where the largest outbreak of the infection has occurred and is still active. Until this Tuesday, 154 affected had been registered and of them 19 had died. More than 5,000 people are in quarantine.

Are there treatments or vaccines

No vaccine or specific treatment is currently available, although there are several vaccines and specific treatments against MERS-CoV in the process of clinical development. In the absence of a specific treatment against MERS, the treatment of patients against this disease is supportive and based on the clinical status of the patient.



Arab Observer

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