What is Camel flu? Virus affecting France squad ahead of World Cup final
Deschamps confirmed that Kingsley Coman is suffering from the same symptoms as Upamecano and Rabiot, who missed the semi-final against Morocco.
France have made it to Sunday’s World Cup final while having to deal with all kinds of setbacks and adversities. The most recent concerns the players’ health. A number of players have gone down with a mysterious, debilitating virus, similar to the flu - the situation is understandably a cause for concern with the France camp. The two most affected players to date are Dayot Upamecano and Adrien Rabiot - neither of whom were well enough to play a single minute of Wednesday’s semi-final against Morocco. Rabiot remained in isolation back at the team hotel. In Qatar there is concern about a virus dubbed Camel flu that is going around for the past couple of weeks. Many fans attending the World Cup, including those who have now returned home, have also come down with a nagging cold that they have struggled to shake off.
Camel flu is the common name for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) - a viral respiratory disease caused by Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV), a zoonotic virus which can be transmitted between animals and people with camels being the main link between the two. It was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and since then there have been 2,600 laboratory confirmed cases in humans, and at almost 1,000 deaths worldwide although 80% of cases of MERS‐CoV affecting humans have been confined to Saudi Arabia.
Human-to-human transmission of MERS‐CoV is possible and studies have indicated that there is also a risk of airborne transmission. Approximately 30-35% of the cases reported to the World Health Organisation during the past decade have died and there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment available to treat infected patients. Qatar is one of 27 countries that have reported cases to the WHO.
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MERS‐CoV ‘Camel flu’ - what are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms include fever, sore throat, dry cough and shortness of breath. Patients might also suffer gastrointestinal symptoms - abdominal pain, nausea or diarrhoea. Some severe cases have led to other complications such as pneumonia but that isn’t usually the case.
At this time of year there are a number of nasty viruses doing the rounds, and while France coach Didier Deschamps and his medical staff will be concerned about his poorly players, it doesn’t mean they have contracted Camel flu. Deschamps did confirm that another player is showing early symptoms - Kingsley Coman. Coman also sat out the Morocco game. “Kingsley had a fever this morning. In Doha, the temperatures have dropped a bit and most people still have air conditioning on all the time. We have had a few cases of flu-like symptoms. We are trying to be careful so that it does not spread and the players have put in a great effort on the pitch and obviously their immune systems suffer,” the coach explained.
Deschamps also explained what protocol is being adopted so that his players remain fit and healthy for Sunday’s final: “Dayot Upamecano felt bad immediately after the game against England. It happens when you exert yourself so much, your body weakens and you are more prone to catching these viruses. We’re taking all the necessary precautions, we’re trying to make sure it doesn’t spread, but viruses are of course infectious and we have to take precautions against them. We separated him from the others and from Adrien as well.”
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