China.- Health officials from different parts of the world closely monitor the outbreak of a new virus in China. Governments are reinforcing the review of passengers from the affected area to try to prevent the coronavirus infection from spreading and have issued a global health emergency.
Although most cases have occurred in the Asian giant’s regions, the spread of the corona virus to countries such as Thailand, South Korea, Japan and the United States, among others, has also been confirmed.
Wuhan’s coronavirus is a new strain that had not been seen before in humans, which means there is still much to investigate. But what are the symptoms, how deadly is it, how is it transmitted and what should be done to prevent its spread?
This is what you should know about the infection:
Scientists have identified it as a new type of coronavirus. There are many known types of coronaviruses. Some cause the common cold, while others found in bats, camels or other animals are related to more serious diseases, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, or SARS) or Middle East coronavirus respiratory syndrome. (MERS)
Corona comes from Latin and refers to the shape of the haloes or crowns. Coronaviruses have that circular shape.
Under a microscope, the virus is like a solar corona. The disease at the center of this outbreak, which was identified by Chinese authorities, is called coronavirus 2019-nCoV
The outbreak began last month in the city of Wuhan, in central China, apparently it is believed that the outbreak infection originated in a meat and seafood market in Wuhan, where live animals are often slaughtered and wild animals are also sold.
According to the Wuhan Institute of Virology which published a document affirmed that this desease has the same traits as the virus (SARS) that affected Asia in 2003 and killed almost 800 people, and also the same as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) .
Another report that was released in China early last week claimed that the coronavirus could have originated in snakes , which were also sold in Wuhan’s tag. However, that report also suggested that, since snakes hunt bats in the wild, the latter could be the original source of the virus.
About 300 cases have been identified. There are approximately 260 in Wuhan, according to the Chinese authorities. Cases in other cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, total about 30. They were reported at the start of the hectic travel season for the Lunar New Year holiday. Many Chinese travel abroad for the occasion and few cases outside of China have been confirmed, including in the United States, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan. It is anticipated that this hectic travel season will spread the virus more widely.
Common symptoms include runny nose, headache, cough and fever. Shortness of breath, chills and body aches are associated with more dangerous types of coronaviruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the authorities, the incubation period for “Wuhan pneumonia” (that is, how long it takes for the symptoms to appear after contracting the infection) is days, rather than weeks. Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but it is known that only six (the new one would be the seventh) infect people.
Until January 23, of the more than 500 cases of the new coronavirus, it is known that at least 17 people have died from the new coronavirus since its spread in December 2019.
This means that the vast majority of patients suffering from the virus do not end with fatal consequences.
Although research is still lacking in this regard, doctors have said that this coronavirus is not as serious as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which in 2002 killed 774 of the 8,098 people infected in an outbreak that also began in China.
When we see a new coronavirus, we want to know how severe the symptoms are; this is more than cold-like symptoms and it is a concern, but it is not as serious as Sars,” Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh told
There are no specific medications for the disease and no vaccine to prevent it. Symptoms are treated with drugs for pain and fever, and people are advised to drink plenty of fluids and stay at home resting. Most people with the common coronavirus recover without requiring medical attention.
Many coronaviruses can spread through coughing or sneezing, or by touching an infected person. At first, the Chinese authorities said there was no evidence of a person-to-person transmission in the current outbreak.
But a panel of experts has concluded that there have been at least some cases of people who were infected by other people, increasing the possibility that it can spread more widely
The Chinese authorities believe that the virus originated in a seafood market in Wuhan that “made illegal transactions of wild animals.” The first human cases were identified in this same Chinese city in December 2019, although it is not yet known how or when the virus became infectious for people.
Although initially it was said that the disease only happened with the contact of animals, this Tuesday the Chinese authorities confirmed for the first time that the virus has been transmitted from person to person.
In China there is concern that the virus will spread through the hundreds of millions of people traveling for the Chinese New Year later this month In fact, it was confirmed that some health workers became infected after attending patients with the same disease.
This worries doctors, because viruses that infect the lungs, like this one, are very effective in spreading due to coughing and sneezing. However, it is still too early to measure how many people could be affected.
Given this, Singapore and Hong Kong have been controlling Wuhan air passengers and US authorities announced similar measures at the San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York airports.
So far, the virus seems to be less dangerous and infectious than SARS, which also started in China and killed approximately 800 people. By Tuesday, six deaths had been reported, all occurred in Wuhan. Viruses can mutate into more dangerous and contagious ways. For now, it is too early to say what will happen to this.
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