Novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

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In December 2019 There was a cluster of pneumonia cases in China. Investigation found that It was caused by previously unknown virus, now named 2019 Novel Coronavirus. In this video we will take a quick look what is currently known about the virus. Keeping mind this is a new virus, what is known about the virus now might change in the future.

2019 Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and Coronavirus Disease 2019

Coronavirusus are a large group of viruses.They consist of a core of genetic material surrounded by an envelope with protein spikes. This gives an appearance of a crown. Crown in Latin called Corona that how virus get their name. There are different types of coronaviruses that  cause repiratory and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. Respiratory diseases can range from common cold to pneumonia. And in most people the symptoms tend to be mild. However there are some types of coronaviruses they can cause severe diseases. These include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) first identified in China in 2003 and the Middle east respiratory coronavirus (MERS-CoV) that was first identified in Saudia Arabia in 2012. 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first identified in China. It initially occured in a group of people with pneumonia who had been associated with sea food and live animal market in the city of Wuhan. The disease has since spread from those who were sick to others including family members and healthcare stuff. There are many cases at present and the disease has spread within China and also to a number of other countries.

Origin of 2019-nCoV

So where did the virus come from? It is known that coronaviruses circulate in a range of animals. Sometimes this viruses can make the jump from animals to humans. This is called spillover. It could be due to a range of factors, such as mutation in the virus or increased contact between humans and animals. For example, MERS-CoV as known to be transmitted from camels and SARS-CoV from civet cat. Animal reservoir of the 2019 novel coronavirus is not known yet.

Transmission of 2019-nCoV

How is it transmitted? The Exact dynamics of how the viruses transmitted is yet to be determined. In general, repiratory viruses are usually transmitted through droplets created one infected person coughs or sneezes or through something that has been contaminated with the virus. People most at risk of infection from novel coronavirus are those in close contacts with animals, such as live animal market workers and those who are caring for people infected with the virus such as family members or healthcare members.

Coronavirus Disease 2019

So how does the disease present? Well, what is known so far? There can be a number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. There can ve fever and respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases there has been pneumonia, kidney failure and death. The mortality rate is not known yet.

How can we tell weather someone is infected? The infection can be diagnosed by test called PCR or polymerase chain reaction. This test identifies virus based on its genetic fingerprints. There is currently no specific medication for the virus and treatment is supportive care. There is currently no vaccine to protect against the virus. Treatment and vaccine are in development.

Prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019

How do we prevent transmission of the virus? This new virus was initially limited geographic spread. However, the WHO declared the 2010-nCoV a pandemic in Marc, 2020.

There are a number of standart hygine practices that had been recommended to protect against infection and further spread. These include; 1: covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing with a medical mask, tissue or flexed elbow, 2: avoiding close contact with those who are unwell, 3: the appopriate use of mask and personel protective equipment especially in healthcare setting, 4: washing hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol based hand rub.

Actions that can be taken to prevent infection from animal source include; 1: avoiding unnecessary unprotected contacts with animals, 2: washing hands after contact with animals or animal products, 3: insuring that animal products are cooked thorougly before they are consumed.

It is important to stay home if you are feeling unwell. But if you have fever, cough and diffuculty breathing seek medical care early and share your previous travel history with your healthcare provider.

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