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Montevideo, September 28th 2023 - 13:28 UTC



Forget Qatar rules on no alcohol in stadiums, beware of camels and camel's MERS

Saturday, November 19th 2022 - 06:59 UTC
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Alcohol will not be sold to fans at the World Cup's eight stadiums in Qatar after FIFA and the country's authorities changed its policy two days before the start of the World Cup 2022. However not only keep away from the alcohol temptation, even more, but important also beware of camels and the camel virus.

Also known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), belongs to the coronavirus family which includes COVID-19 and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and is prevalent in neighboring Saudi Arabia..

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), similarly to Covid and seasonal influenza, “the usual symptoms of MERS include fever, cough and shortness of breath.”

Pneumonia is common, but MERS patients do not always develop this condition. Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, have also been reported in these patients. In addition, “severe forms of the disease may result in respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit management”.

Vincent Enouf, virologist and deputy director of the National Reference Centre (CNR) for influenza at the Pasteur Institute, said: “It was identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, which is why it was given the name MERS-CoV, for 'Middle East Respiratory Syndrome', which was attributed to it by the WHO.”

Dr Enouf further explained: ”A few imported cases have been reported, but MERS has always remained very localized, limited to this region of the world.”

The WHO confirmed that since its appearance in 2012, 27 countries have reported cases of MERS, including in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States.

“About 80% of the human cases have been reported from Saudi Arabia, mainly as a result of direct or indirect contact with infected camels or infected persons in health facilities.” According to the organization, a total of 2,500 cases of MERS have been reported since its detection in 2012, causing 858 deaths.

The figures shared by the WHO suggest that “about 35 percent of the cases of infection by MERS-CoV notified to the WHO have resulted in the death of the patient”.

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