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Sat 10 Dec 2011 12:40 PM

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McIlroy hit by virus in Dubai World Championship

But world No.2 should make full recovery, says European Tour physician

McIlroy hit by virus in Dubai World Championship
McIlroy closed his second-round 71 with two successive bogeys on Friday

Rory McIlroy's viral illness is a common problem among
travelling golfers and the world number two should make a complete recovery as
long as he takes some rest, the European Tour's chief medical officer has said.

The 22-year-old has had a punishing playing schedule in Asia
recently and his management team said at the Dubai World Championship on Friday
that he was "exhausted" and "run down".

"This isn't an unusual situation in my experience on the
tour," medical officer Roger Hawkes said on Saturday. "I've seen
several players down the years with this sort of problem.

"I think it's probably the effects of a virus. The
symptoms are maybe of fatigue. They feel like doing something one day, they do
it, and then they don't have much energy the next day and it takes a period of
time to get over that.

"The virus usually goes but what's left is a fatigue
syndrome. If the low white blood count is low and the platelets are low, as
they are in Rory's case, that indicates there is probably a virus in the system
but nothing more than that.

"The remedy is to try and reduce the amount of total
activity and then gradually build it up again over a period of time. The main
thing though is the outlook is very good and most people recover," Hawkes
added.

McIlroy looked tired and forlorn after closing his
second-round 71 with two successive bogeys on Friday.

The Northern Irishman, who is five strokes adrift of leader
Alvaro Quiros of Spain, told reporters he was still unsure of the precise
nature of his viral infection even though he had been under the weather for a
couple of weeks.

McIlroy shrugged off his illness to win the Hong Kong Open
last Sunday and at this week's season-ending event in Dubai he is locked in a
straight fight with world number one Luke Donald to determine who finishes the
season as Europe's top golfer.

Hawkes gave an insight into the ramifications of a low
platelet count.

"Platelets are the agent that helps you clot so that
when you get cut you stop bleeding," he explained.

"But for people with a virus the total count goes down
a bit. They are also a window into the immune system.

"In a hot environment you try to normalise everyday
conditions, make sure the sufferer is not too hot, not too cold, doesn't get
dehydrated and also try to reduce the stress on the body."

McIlroy is due to play in next week's inaugural Thailand
Golf Championship in Bangkok, the last event in the Asian Tour season, but said
he would make a decision on whether to compete there after consulting his
doctor on Saturday evening.

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