Every newspaper and news channel are talking about this one disease that has shook the world since first detected in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Yes, we are talking about Coronavirus. World Health Organization defines Corona virus as a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). (Ref. link: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses) Unfortunately, much is not known about how the new coronavirus, also known as 2019-nCoV, spreads. Whatever little is known about the virus as of now is mostly based on what is knowledge about similar Coronaviruses.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. These are common in many different species of animals, such as bats, cats, camels, and cattle. Although it is rare, but animal Corona viruses can infect humans and then spread between people such as in case of MERS, SARS, and now with 2019-nCoV.
How it spreads?
It spreads much like influenza and other respiratory pathogens that is from person-to-person close contacts mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the noses or mouths of people who are nearby and then be inhaled into the lungs. It’s presently not clear if a person can get 2019-nCoV by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it and then touching their own nose, mouth, or perhaps their eyes. Just like most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest.
Some viruses are highly contagious that other, hence, it is important to note that how easily a virus spreads person-to-person can vary. investigations are going on and there is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features associated with 2019-nCoV.
What are the symptoms?
Just like any other upper respiratory infection, symptoms of Coronavirus include runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus because of no special identifiable symptoms.
Even in the slightest of doubt, you should get lab tests, including diagnosis and blood test to find out whether your cold was caused by a coronavirus. If it’s not Coronavirus, symptoms tends to go away in few days or weeks but if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract which includes your windpipe and your lungs, it can cause more severe problems like pneumonia, especially to people with weakened immune systems, old aged or people with heart disease.
How can you prevent Coronavirus?
There is no vaccine yet developed for coronavirus. Stay aware of the latest information on the outbreak, available on WHO website (link: www.who.int ), and take care of your health by doing the following:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty as it will eliminate the virus if it is on your hands.
- Maintain social distancing – maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever. This is because When someone who is infected with a respiratory disease, like 2019-nCoV, coughs or sneezes they project small droplets containing the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the virus.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as our hands touch many surfaces which can be contaminated with the virus. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.
- If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early. Tell your health care provider if you have traveled in an area in China where 2019-nCoV has been reported, or if you have been in close contact with someone with who has traveled from China and has respiratory symptoms.
- If you have mild respiratory symptoms and no travel history to or within China, carefully practice basic respiratory and hand hygiene and stay home until you are recovered, if possible.
According to latest news, the whistle-blower doctor who alarmed about Coronavirus in China died of the virus. (Read news: http://morungexpress.com/coronavirus-kills-hero-chinese-doctor-who-sounded-alarm-toll-passes-630).
It is a time of difficulty for China and Global community in general, all we can do is to make sure that we and our surroundings are prevented well to the virus by following the measures mentioned above.