15 December (UPI) Several members of the French national soccer team, which is competing in the World Cup in Qatar, are suffering from a flu-like disease. The players’ illnesses come amid rising worries that Qatar is becoming a hub for the Middle East respiratory disease (MERS), also known as “camel flu.”
Adrien Rabiot, a midfielder, and Dayot Upamecano, a defender, were both placed in isolation after exhibiting symptoms and missed France’s 2-0 semifinal victory over Morocco on Wednesday. Didier Deschamps, the head coach of team France, announced on Friday that Kingsley Coman had also developed symptoms.
The disease, which is caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has caused nearly 1,000 human deaths worldwide since. The disease is what’s known as a “zoonotic virus,” because it can be transmitted from animals to humans.
Viruses are obviously contagious, so we must take safeguards against them, said Deschamps. “We are taking the required precautions, and we are trying to make sure it doesn’t spread,” he added.
On Sunday, France and Argentina will meet in the World Cup championship game.