The New Corona Virus

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The number of cases of patients infected with the new coronavirus as of January 24th has gone up to 1287, while there are now 13 places outside mainland China reported their first confirmed cases of coronavirus. In Indonesia, The Health Ministry’s disease prevention and monitoring director, Wiendra Waworuntu, confirmed that an Indonesian citizen was suspected to have the coronavirus after travelling from China.

Here’s what you need to know about corona virus!

WHAT IS A CORONAVIRUS?
The Wuhan virus belongs to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses. These viruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces, infect mostly bats, pigs and small mammals. But they mutate easily and can jump from animals to humans, and from one human to another. In recent years, they have become a growing player in infectious-disease outbreaks world-wide.

HOW IS THE VIRUS SPREAD AMONG HUMANS?
Seven strains are known to infect humans, including the virus in Wuhan. They can be spread by coughing, kissing or making contact with saliva, Chinese officials say. Four of the strains cause common colds. Two other strains, however, have been extremely deadly: Severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, and Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, are coronaviruses.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS AND HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE IT?
Patients have had a fever, cough and other symptoms of pneumonia. Public-health officials have developed diagnostic tests, which are being used to confirm whether a patient has the Wuhan coronavirus or another infection. Five major airports in the U.S. are screening arriving international travelers for fever; those who have one are then screened for other symptoms.

HOW DOES THE SEVERITY OF THE WUHAN VIRUS COMPARE WITH SARS AND MERS
So far, the Wuhan virus appears to be milder than SARS or MERS, though it has sickened some people severely and there have been deaths. MERS killed about a third of those infected, while SARS resulted in the deaths of about one in 10. By contrast, the mortality rate from the Wuhan virus is tracking at roughly 3%. Many patients who have died were over 60 years old, had other illnesses such as diabetes and were admitted to hospitals when their illness was advanced.

PREVENTION
If traveling to Wuhan, you should avoid contact with sick people, avoid dead or alive animals, animal markets or products that come from animals such as uncooked meat, according to the CDC. You should often wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, they wrote. If you are infected by the virus you can take steps to help avoid transmitting it to others such as isolating yourself at home, separating yourself from other people in the house, wearing a face mask, covering your coughs and sneezes and washing your hands, according to the CDC.

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Sources:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

www.wsj.com

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