What is it?
Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses that cause symptoms ranging from common cold to more severe respiratory diseases such as SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
These viruses were originally found in animals and were then transmitted to humans.
The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. The image of the virus looks like that of a solar corona under a microscope.
A novel(new) coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV recently found by Chinese authorities on January 7th is a new strain of the virus to infect human beings.
The virus is said to be originated in Wuhan, Hubei province of China.
Symptoms of coronavirus infection include-
Shortness of breath
Non- respiratory symptoms include nausea, vomiting & diarrhea.
Severe cases may cause-
Severe acute respiratory syndrome
The incubation period for the virus is 1- 14 days.
Testing for coronavirus can be done by collecting throat swabs, cough & blood samples from suspected patients.
Currently, there is no medication for this particular coronavirus, so treatment is majorly supportive. For the patients who are severely affected by this illness, specialized care in an intensive care unit (ICU) can be lifesaving.
Usually, people recover from the infection within a few days. However, infants, elderly, or people who have a weakened immune system — may develop more serious symptoms such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
WHO’s recommends the below guidelines to reduce exposure and transmission of coronavirus-
Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based disinfectant or soap and water;
When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue & throw away the tissue immediately and wash hands;
Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough;
If you have any symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical attention immediately and share your previous travel history if any, with your health care provider;
The consumption of raw or undercooked animal meat should be avoided at all costs. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination, as per good food safety practices.