Human Coronavirus: Outbreak and Prevention

Human Coronavirus: Outbreak and Prevention Coronavirus is basically a part of quite an elaborate family of viruses that are responsible for causing a wide range of manifestations including mild ones like common cold to severe diseases like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) refers to a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans.

The WHO on 31 December 2019 reported notification of several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. The virus strain did not match any other known strains. One week later, on 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified the new virus and classified it as being coronavirus. This new virus has been temporarily named “2019-nCoV.”

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals (usually vertebrates) and humans. Major modern diseases such as Ebola virus disease belong to the same category. Detailed studies have shown that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. China’s mystery new coronavirus is spreading fast. More than 7,700 people have been reported to be infected and at least 170 are recorded to have died from this new strain.

The majority of cases have been confined to China but the virus is gradually spreading further afield. So far cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in more than 15 countries, including the USA, France, Australia, and Germany.

Coronavirus Symptoms

Common human coronaviruses are known to cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. It might be quite surprising to know, that most of the people, get infected with coronaviruses, at least once in their lifetime. These illnesses only last over a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:

  • headache
  • fever
  • running nose
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • a general feeling of being unwell

In people with weakened immune systems, infants, and elderly the virus can cause more severe lower respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.

These symptoms are similar to other respiratory diseases, including common cold and flu. So it gets all the more important to pay attention especially if you’ve recently traveled or have come in contact with someone already suffering from the same.

COVID-19: How is it spread? 

Human coronavirus can be transmitted from an infected person to others via the following routes:

  • Droplet infection by coughing and sneezing.
  • Contact: Close contact, such as touching or shaking hands or by touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
  • Fecal contamination (rarely).
How to detect?
  • Detection of human coronavirus involves specific laboratory investigations of respiratory specimens and serum.
  • Any history of recent travel must be put forward to your healthcare provider.

COVID-19 Prevention 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water for a minimum of 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people and also prevent any direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
  • Avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unclean or unwashed hands.
  • Wear disposable gloves.
  • Wear a surgical mask.
  • Disinfection: A household disinfectant should be used to clean any surfaces that may have been contaminated. Wear disposable gloves throw the gloves away when you’re done.
  • Keep yourself hydrated and take proper rest.
In order to keep in mind, all the preventive measures, remember the word W-U-H-A-N :
  • Wash hands
  • Use a mask
  • Have temperature checked
  • Avoid large crowds
  • Never touch your face, with unclean hands

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