By Matthias Samuel
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first reported from Wuhan, China, on December 31, 2019. This rapidly evolving health story broke in late December and started to spread quickly because of international travel. The virus has appeared in several countries including: China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Taiwan, Malaysia, United States, Macao, Vietnam, France, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Philippines, Italy, India, United Kingdom, Russia, Nepal, Finland, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Asia, Cambodia, and Spain.
Coronaviruses, according to Harvard health education, are an extremely common cause of colds and other upper respiratory infections. These viruses are zoonoses, which means they can infect certain animals and spread from one animal to another. A coronavirus can potentially spread to humans, particularly if certain mutations in the virus occur.
Chinese health authorities reported a group of cases of viral pneumonia to the World Health Organization (WHO) in late December 2019. Many of the ill people had contact with a seafood and animal market in Wuhan, a large city in eastern China, though it has since become clear that the virus can spread from person to person. Until February 2, 2020, around 14,670 cases have been reported from around the world out of which around 14,300 are only from China.
The symptoms include Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath. According to WHO and Harvard health education there are some early reports of non-respiratory symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Many people recover within a few days. However, some people — especially the very young, elderly, or people who have a weakened immune system — may develop a more serious infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Scientists are working hard to understand the virus, and Chinese health authorities have posted its full genome in international databases. However, some safety precautions can be beneficial, such as, Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.