The disease caused by Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus is on news all over the world. It was first found in Wuhan, China. Health experts around the world are trying to understand, track and cure for the virus since it emerged in December. Latest reports say over 60,000 confirmed infections and more than 1,300 people killed by the disease. Over 6,000 people have recovered successfully. But the true figure is a mystery as well as its origin. This is very similar to the SARS outbreak in 2002 and MERS in 2012.
Common symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath or reathing difficulties could be seen among those who were infected. This could be lethal in more severe cases when infection cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure or even death.
What is corona virus disease? Nowadays Coronavirus is referred to OVID-19 itself. But Corona viruses are a large group of viruses that causes illness from common cold to more deathly diseases like MERS-COV (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome), and SARS-COV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). A Novel Coronavirus is the newest member of the group which was never been identified among humans.
Experts say the coronavirus is zoonotic! What’s that mean? Zoonotic means a disease transmitting from an animal to human. As a Coronavirus is a large family, some causing illness in human and others circulating among animals. Analysis of genetic tree of COVID-19 is ongoing to identify the source of the virus. Another similar outbreak caused by a virus call SARS came from civet cats, while MERS came from camels. Some viruses like ‘Rabies’ will end up when the host (Human) dies. But if the virus is even more adaptable or evolve to the human body then it starts to spread one human to another. some other viruses such as ‘HIV’ and ‘Ebola’ known to origin among animals and then transfer from human to human through sexual contact or body fluids.
It is important to know how do germs spread between animals and humans. There are several ways humans can get infected by zoonotic diseases.
- Direct contact – Contact with saliva, blood, mucous, feces, urine. While touching or petting animals or bitten or scratched by them.
- Indirect contact – By contaminated surfaces (where animals live or roam). Such as Plants, soil, aquarium water, pet cages, pet food and water dishes.
- Vector borne – bit by insects like tick or mosquito or flea.
- Food borne – food contaminated by germs such as Undercooked meat or eggs, raw fruits and vegetables, unpasteurized milk. Could easily contaminated by infected animal.
COVID-19 became a global catastrophe ever since emerge in Chinese town called Wuhan, which is capital of Hubei province. The city has a long and rich history dates back 3,500 years. Starting from the Shang Dynasty. Contains many lakes and parks as well as an important port on the Yangtze River. Population over 11 million, makes the virus is difficult to handle and quarantine.
World health organization (WHO) has analyzed over 17,000 people who have caught disease. Conclusion on current evidence most infections are appeared to be mild. Out of analyzed patients 82% are with only mild symptoms. 15% has developed severe symptoms while other 3% became critically ill. But WHO officials said “Although the figures are unreliable, the percentage of those dying from the coronavirus is only one to two percent”. Even though it appears as a small number, the way it spread and how easily someone gets infected makes everyone scars. In the situation scientists battle to find a cure still not succeed makes things worse.
Doesn’t matter you are healthy or not, young or old, male or female you could easily infect by a zoonotic virus. Anyhow, some people are at more risk than others. They will get really sick and even die causing the illness. Children under five years, elders older than 65 years and people with weakened immune system should take steps to protect themselves. Not only them, people with long term conditions such as diabetes, cancer or chronic lung disease bears more risk than others.
According to the latest reviews, infections were found in 24 countries outside China. But researchers worried undetected cases in some nation may be larger than reported incidents. Experts says countries with weaker healthcare systems such as Asia and Africa could quickly be overwhelmed by local outbreak. Some other countries with stronger business ties with China also are in higher risk. Researchers who made a computer model using a flight data to study of spreading patterns of coronavirus have learnt possible similarity to spreading of a virus called SARS. They have identified 30 countries and regions are at risk by the larger number of flights from Wuhan. Thailand is the country exposed more than others. According to the sources 33 people were identified as infected with COVID-19. 23 people out of them had been in China before the infection.
Diagnosis and testing protocols have been published by World Health Organization. Testing uses real time ‘reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction’ (rRT-PCR). This can be done on blood or respiratory samples. Results will be available in few hours to days. Testing guide lines were released by Wuhan University of suggestions for detecting infections and epidemiological risk.
Can I avoid catching it? That will be everyone’s question. How to prevent it?. Since still there are no cure or preventive vaccine for COVID-19 virus, everybody should take care to take necessary steps to prevent. First of all, the virus spreads by cough or saliva that spreads while coughing or sneezing. Who ever is having infections should cover your mouth with a tissue while doing so. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water is essential as well as using disinfectant to clean surfaces touched by a patient. Don’t touch your eyes nose or ears with dirty hands. Specially after going into public places or using public transport. The WHO recommends keeping distance of at least one meter between one and another. You should take care after handling an animal. Wearing a surgical mask has been increasing to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19. Coronavirus However, there is little evidence such masks are an effective means of protecting someone.
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