Returning England fans warned about flu ‘deadlier than Covid’

England's Jude Bellingham chats to fan

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Three Lions fans have been warned about a flu “deadlier than Covid” as they return from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The UK Health Security Agency (HSA) urged clinicians to look out for patients experiencing breathing difficulties and fever symptoms. Camel flu, which is also known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, led to nearly 1,000 deaths in recent years.

Cases are expected to rise after thousands of England fans jetted off to Qatar to cheer on Gareth Southgate’s side at the World Cup.

Some fans are thought to have been exposed to camels during their visit.

A briefing note sent out by the HSA said: “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.

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“MERS can be acquired from close contact with camels or from consuming camel products e.g., unpasteurised camel milk.”

HSA also issued a warning about “person-to-person transmission”.

Camel flu is far deadlier than coronavirus with more than one-in-three people who catch it subsequently dying.

The rate for COVID-19 is much lower at less than four percent, according to the Sun.

A dozen Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries recorded 2,600 cases between April 2012 and October 2022.

However, camel riding is a popular pastime in Qatar.

University of East Anglia’s Professor Paul Hunter told the Sun: “Fans should steer clear of camels in Qatar.

“That’s the common sense advice to reduce the risk of contracting the virus.

“It’s a nasty bug, much deadlier than COVID-19 with a very high mortality rate, and there is currently no effective vaccine.”

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England’s World Cup journey was brought to an end on Saturday night after the Three Lions lost 2-1 to France in an agonising quarter-final clash in Al Khor.

France pulled ahead in the first half after Real Madrid midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni found the back of the net with a shot from 25 yards out.

Spurs striker Harry Kane brought England level in the 54th minute after tucking away a penalty following a foul on Arsenal star Bukayo Saka.

AC Milan forward Olivier Giroud, who overtook Thierry Henry as France’s all-time top goalscorer after facing Poland, put Les Bleus back in the lead after connecting with a cross from Antoine Griezmann.

England’s captain was handed an opportunity to draw the Three Lions level for a second time with less than 10 minutes to go after French fullback Theo Hernandez clattered into Chelsea’s Mason Mount.

The 29-year-old uncharacteristically blazed the ball over the bar, much to the disappointment of Three Lions fans in Qatar and England.

The Three Lions touched down in England yesterday as they received a heroes’ welcome at Birmingham Airport.

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