Late in January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency due to the outbreak of a Coronavirus. The Chinese city of Wuhan is asserted to be the epicentre of the virus breakout with Wuhan health authorities reporting the first death (due to an unidentified virus) earlier last month.
Medical experts claim that this is the third reported outburst of coronavirus in the world. The first one was reported in 2002 and resulted in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV) outbreak. The second resulted in the massive outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS- CoV) in 2012.
Here are few important things that you need to know about Coronavirus:
What is Coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a family of harmful viruses that can cause illnesses, ranging from common cold and flu to life-threatening diseases like MERS-CoV and SARS CoV. The recent outbreak is a result of a new coronavirus (nCoV) that was not identified in humans earlier. This new coronavirus is zoonotic, i.e. it can be transmitted between animals and humans.
Detailed investigations and researches revealed that the 2002 MERS-CoV was originated from civet cats while the 2012 SARS-CoV was originated from camels. The origin of nCoV is still unidentified. However, some researchers argue that it is sourced from snakes while others allegedly report that it came from bats.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?
As per the WHO, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties are some of the notable symptoms associated with the nCoV infection. In severe cases, the infection can also result in pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure, and even death.
Even after consistent efforts, the top pharmaceutical companies and scientists have been unable to find or develop a vaccine that can prevent the nCoV infection. Thus, taking preventive measures remains the only reliable solution to keep the condition at bay.
As suggested by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some preventive measures that one should keep in mind in order to stay protected from coronavirus:
- Wash your hands properly with soap and water for 20 seconds (at least), especially after using the washroom, coughing and sneezing. In case water and soap in unavailable, use an alcohol-based sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid touching the sensitive parts of your body like the eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid having close contact with people who are ill or sick.
- It is advisable that you stay at home if you are feeling sick yourself.
- Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing with a tissue. Then, dispose-off the tissue in the trash.
- Disinfect the frequently touched objects with cleaning sprays and wipes.
The outbreak of the nCoV infection has emerged as one of the biggest global health concerns. According to Aljazeera, more than 24,500 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported worldwide, most of them being from the Hubei province of China. The reports also claim that the virus has killed more than 550 people till now and the toll is rising with every passing minute. Unfortunately, India also reported its 3rd case of Coronavirus infection in Kerala earlier this month.