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Coronavirus: The Virus Capturing the Attention of People Around The World

Coronavirus: The Virus Capturing the Attention of People Around The World

Are you at risk of contracting a Coronavirus? Learn why it is important to understand its transmission, signs, symptoms, complications, & treatment.

coronavirus

2019-nCoV. China pathogen respiratory coronavirus 2019-nCoV. Flu spreading of world, China map, arrows, floating influenza virus cells. Dangerous chinese ncov corona virus, SARS pandemic risk alert. (Image via Shutterstock By Tetiana Yurchenko)

 

  • The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus that was identified as the cause of an outbreak of a respiratory illness that was first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.
  • Are you at risk of contracting this virus?
  • Learn why It is important to understand the transmission of the virus, the signs, symptoms, complications, prevention, treatment, and what to do if you are diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV.
  • We also have identified frequently asked questions adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Coronavirus has received noticeable attention over the past two months, because of the unknown strain of Coronavirus. According to the Aljazeera report, more than 14,500 cases have been reported worldwide, and most of them in China’s Hubei province.

The 2019-nCoV’s strain’s ability to spread rapidly without any signs or symptoms during the estimated incubation period (2 to 14 days with an average of about 5.2 days) is what has been a concern.[1]

It’s important to know that the number of incubation days can vary among patients. The Coronavirus can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV.[2]

The 2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans, which is why there are many questions on the transmission of the virus and ongoing investigations to learn more about the strain.
 

Signs and Symptoms

The following are signs and symptoms that have been reported by people who have been diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV by investigators and healthcare professionals.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath

It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and/or have traveled to parts of the world that are considered high risk for disease transmission.
 

Prevention and Treatment

Prevention

Unfortunately, there is currently no vaccine to prevent the spread of the 2019-nCov virus.

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.[3]

It is always recommended that people practice healthy habits to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses that include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Source: who.int

Treatment

As of today (February 5th, 2020), there is no specific antiviral treatment for the 2019-nCoV infection.

People who are infected and diagnosed can receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.

If there are severe cases, treatment should include receiving care to support vital organ functions.[3]

For further treatment options seek medical attention from medical professionals and go to the CDC Website or the China Center of Disease Control and Prevention website to find out more about how to protect yourself and others.
 

Complications

It is important to know and understand the complications that can occur from the 2019-nCoV virus.

As of now, health professionals are letting the public know the signs, symptoms, prevention methods, treatment, and transmission of the virus.

It is important to note, that anyone is at risk of contracting the virus. It has been reported that people who have been diagnosed with the virus are experiencing respiratory complications, shortness of breath, fevers, and coughing.

To date (February 2, 2020, 15:40 GMT), there have been 14,677 cases and 305 deaths that have spread across 27 countries and territories.

Unless you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the 2019-nCoV – which right now, typically means a traveler from Wuhan, China who actually has the virus – you’re likely to be safe.
 

The Bottom Line

Given the current spread of the virus, the number of cases is likely to continue to climb. Fortunately, public health officials in many countries have put measures in place to help prevent further spread of the virus.

Some measures that have taken place are screenings at major airports, travel restrictions, bans, and quarantining populations of people who have had contact or have been diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV.

Other countries are putting measures in place, but the virus has spread too quickly to get control.

It is important not to panic, even though this is a serious pathogen. It will be important to continue to protect yourself through prevention practices.

Public health teams are not taking this lightly and will be sharing more information and research as it becomes available in the coming days, weeks, and months.
 

FAQ’S (Adapted from the Center For Disease Control – CDC)

Q: What is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

A: The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

Q: What is a novel coronavirus?

A: A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is not that same as the coronavirus that commonly circulates among humans causes mild illness, like the common cold.

A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a 2019-nCoV diagnosis.

These are different viruses and patients with 2019-nCoV will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnoses.

Q: What is the source of 2019-nCoV?

A: Public health officials and partners are working hard to identify the source of the 2019-nCoV. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats.

Analysis of the genetic tree of this virus is ongoing to know the specific source of the virus.

SARS, another coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from civet cats, while MERS, another coronavirus that emerged to infect people, came from camels.

Q: How does the virus spread?

A: This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum.

Some viruses are highly contagious (like measles), while other viruses are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.

Q: Is 2019-nCoV the same as the MERS-CoV or SARS virus?

A: No. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats.

The recently emerged 2019-nCoV is not the same as the coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or the coronavirus that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

However, genetic analyses suggest this virus emerged from a virus related to SARS. There are ongoing investigations to learn more. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Help and information

Coronavirus advisory information – World Health Organization
who.int/emergencies

Coronavirus condition overview – World Health Organization
who.int/health-topics

Coronavirus Q&A – World Health Organization
who.int/news-room

Feedback:

References

1. Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/symptoms.html. February 2nd, 2020.sssxcs
2. Coronavirus. The World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus. February 2nd, 2020.
3. Prevention and Treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. for Disease Control and Prevention. February 2nd, 2020.
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Anita Jalloh, MS

Anita is a nutrition expert with a Master's in Nutrition and Dietetics. Founder and CEO of Comprehensive Medical Nutrition Solutions, a...

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