The coronavirus is in the global news. The world worries because it is a relatively new virus that is spreading through several countries. But before panic takes hold of us, we must first inform ourselves well. Below are the most relevant data on this topic.
What is coronavirus?
A new global health threat puts the health systems of dozens of countries in check. A new virus emerged in China does not stop reporting cases of infection and death. It is a new strain of coronavirus called 2019-nCoV that already claimed the lives of 213 people and infected more than 9000.
The virus takes its name from Latin because of its crown appearance under the microscope and belongs to a large family of common pathogens. Some coronaviruses only affect animals, but others can also infect humans.
Coronaviruses are very frequent viruses and known to the medical community. Probably, most people have had some coronavirus infection, since they are one of the main causes of the common cold that leads to cough, flu, and sneezing.
But sometimes, these viruses have the ability to make changes in their genetic scheme or what we call mutations. So it was that at the beginning of this century, in 2003, a coronavirus became a very dangerous virus and was known as Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Years later, another coronavirus caused a very common disease in the Middle East and was called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). And today the world is attentive to a new virus that comes from China, ”added the expert infectologist at the Vicente López Hospital, Bernardo Houssay and in Dr. Stamboulian’s laboratories.
The first cases of this respiratory syndrome were recorded on December 12, 2019, in Wuhan, a large city in the central Chinese province of Hubei with 11 million inhabitants and located at 1400 kilometers in Beijing.
People who attended the local hospital had serious breathing difficulties and reported being sick with strange pneumonia. Chinese Health Authorities believe that the disease was transmitted in principle from animals such as bats and snakes to humans. And in recent days they confirmed that it is zoonotic, that is, transmissible among people.
Coronaviruses can cause a mild illness such as a common cold, cough, fever, sneezing, malaise. But in other cases they can generate a serious illness that produces low respiratory infection, that is to say, that it commits bronchial tubes and lungs with high fever, dry cough and marked respiratory difficulty, and can lead to death.
Chinese and World Health Organization (WHO) researchers are studying the impact of this virus on two specific points: How transmissible it is from person to person? and what degree of lethality it has, that is its ability to kill?”, Lopardo warned.
Apparently, the virus belongs to a strain hitherto unknown of coronavirus, a large family of pathogens, similar to SARS, which killed 349 people in mainland China and 299 in Hong Kong in 2003.
The transmission of these viruses occurs from respiratory droplets when coughing or sneezing, close interpersonal contact that includes shaking hands, touching an object or surface that contains the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes without having previously washed hands, and rarely fecal contamination.
New Coronavirus 2019-nCoV
The virus was detected in China by a new strain of Conoravirus that had not previously been identified in humans, therefore its main characteristics are still unknown and this leads to a global health concern.
This virus detected is genetically related to the SARS of 2003, It can cause serious respiratory conditions in people with predisposing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and respiratory diseases.
Lilián Testón , an infectologist and coordinator of the epidemiology department of the Center for Infectious Studies Foundation (FUNCEI), referred to the origin of the virus in the Wuhan market.
The countries that have Confirmed people infected with the 2019-nCov virus are:
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- Sri Lanka
How can I protect myself?
According to WHO, there are some simple preventive measures you can take to protect yourself from this strain:
- Wash your hands regularly and use alcohol-based disinfectants.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
- Wear facial masks in crowded areas
- Avoid consuming raw or undercooked animal products, such as milk, meat, and eggs.
- Avoid close contact with people who have symptoms such as fever, cough, sneezing, and shortness of breath.
- If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your GP immediately and share your recent travel history with them.
- Avoid contact with live animals in areas where there have been cases of 2019-nCoV.