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Posted On: 8 September 2013 07:39 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:13 pm

Flu-like symptoms on the rise

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Doctors and clinics have seen a rise in the number of cases that exhibit “flu-like symptoms” in Doha. This comes in the backdrop of the reported spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) in the region. The Mers-CoV, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, emerged in Saudi Arabia last year and has been reported in some other Gulf states, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain. The Mers virus so far has killed 50 people out of 108 confirmed cases of infections worldwide. “A noticeable number of patients are coming to the clinic with high fever nowadays,” Dr Sameer Kalandan, a general practitioner in Doha, said. “I usually prescribe medications or give an injection that will help stop the high temperature but if I suspect that they have a viral infection, I could prescribe them with antibiotics and ask them to come back for a follow-up the next day.” The doctor said that once a patient suffering from high fever showed no sign of improvement even after a second visit, he referred the case to the Hamad General Hospital (HGH). “Once I realise that the patient’s condition is not improving, even after taking antibiotics, I immediately refer them to HGH for further investigations in order to know the actual cause of their ill health and I have had quite a number of cases,” he said. Another general practitioner in a private clinic, who preferred not to be named, said: “We see many cases of people of all ages falling sick with flu and common cold nowadays. While we treat those with mild symptoms, we usually refer those with very strong symptoms to the Infectious Diseases unit at Hamad Medical Corporation.” However, both doctors could not confirm whether the flu-like infection they see in their patients is Mers-CoV as their clinics do not have the testing facility for the virus. Qatar announced the third death due to Mers-CoV on Friday. “I visited my clinic yesterday for a check up and medication refill and was surprised to see many people suffering from flu waiting to see the doctor at the reception. The scene really got me thinking about Mers-CoV for a moment,” an expatriate said. The Supreme Council of Health has set up hotline numbers 66740951 and 66740948 for anyone with questions regarding Mers-CoV.