It is no surprise that often a new form of virus or a bacteria possesses a threat to mankind and causes an epidemic that is hard to contain. As the human population grows the complexity of providing advanced healthcare grows too. No sooner that one problem is solved another one takes it’s place.
Recently on 31st-Jan-2019 the first case in the Wuhan, Hubei Province of China was reported and since then the virus has spread to various other countries. The first case in USA was identified on 21st-Jan-2020, and there are on going investigations to learn more.
This virus is particularly dangerous and lethal and so new that it does not even have a name yet. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has spread through the respiratory illnesses, and has some link to a large seafood and animal market in Wuhan (China), suggesting animal to person spread.
A growing number of people have reported no exposure to animal markets which suggests human to human spread has occurred already.
This virus is a group of animal viruses which affects mammals and birds that include diarrhea in cows and pigs, and upper respiratory disease in chickens. In humans the respiratory infections are lethal.
The name is derived from it’s characteristic appearance of ring shaped crown or halo. Through electron microscopy it seems to have viral spike which are proteins that populate the surface of the virus and determines host tropism.
Symptoms & Complications
Patients with confirmed diagnosis infection have mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
The symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 after exposure. This is based on what has been previously as the incubation period of MERS (Middle east respiratory syndrome) viruses.
The transmission spread has occurred and it is thought to have happened via respiratory droplets produced when a person infected coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.
Complications can be – bronchitis, pneumonia, and lower respiratory tract infections.
People with cardiopulmonary disorders are at more risk, and with weakened immune systems.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. To avoid being exposed to this virus is the best way.
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, an alochol based sanitizer can also work.
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
- stay home when you are sick
- cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection, people infected should be given supportive care to relieve the symptoms. Vital organ support should be provided in severe cases. Worldwide scientists and doctors are working to find a vaccine or a cure to curb this soon to be epidemic.