Coronavirus Symptoms: The outbreak of early 2020

In late December 2019, several cases of Pneumonia were reported in regions of China. In studies regarding the viral infection, they concluded that it didn’t match any of the previously reported viruses responsible for the disease. Later, it was released to the world that a new species of the virus is now causing pneumonia.

This virus is the new “2019 novel Coronavirus” (2019-nCoV), the reason behind the huge epidemic outbreak of early 2020. It belongs to the family of viruses that causes the common cold, flu, and microorganisms such as SARS and MERS. So far, the international spread seems limited.

The coronavirus gets its name from its crown-shaped morphology observed under the microscope. The spikes are the glycoproteins present on the outer surface of the virus, which forms the peplomers on the virion surface, giving the virus its corona or crown-like morphology.

Origin of Coronavirus

Coronavirus present in animals like camels and bats are not usually transmissible. However, a coronavirus mutant can pass from animals to humans and then pass on via human to human interaction. This kind of transmission is similar to the case of SARS in the 2000s.

The well-known examples of Coronavirus in China can be traced back to human interaction with infected animals in the city of Wuhan. The epidemic outbreak in China in 2020 is enormous, and the death tolls pass 100. It is one of the most dangerous outbreaks yet encountered.

What are the ways of transmission?

The transmission of virus involves a person to person interaction by an exchange of respiratory fluids-the way that a disease like flu spreads. They spread through droplets i.e., via coughing or sneezing. The virus can also spread when a person touches a surface or object contaminated with infectious droplets and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.

‘Super spreaders’ then catch and spread the disease to a disproportionately large number of people. Health workers are at most risk at this stage as they treat the signs and symptoms like any other infection. When the health worker starts falling ill, that is when we know the disease has already begun spreading.

How to avoid contacting the pathogen?

  • Frequently wash hands using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people and live farms and wild animals.
  • While coughing or sneezing, close your mouth with flexed elbow or tissue and dispose of the tissue and wash hands.
  • If experiencing severe cough and cold, seek professional medical care, and be sure to share your previous travel history.
  • Avoid direct contact with animals in the exposed environment.
  • Avoid eating uncooked and raw food. Take special care while handling raw meat to avoid cross-contamination.
  • A humidifier or a steamy shower can help ease a sore throat.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus yet.

Signs and symptoms

The symptoms of Coronavirus are similar to upper respiratory tract problems like cough, cold and sore throat. Other symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, and a runny nose. The signs usually portray that Rhinovirus is the causative organism. However, blood work can confirm if Coronavirus causes the cold. Although, complications arise when the virus starts infecting the lower respiratory tract causing Pneumonia. Older people with heart disease and a weak immune system are the principal victims of the disease.

In severe cases, restricting patients to quarantine conditions can avoid cross-contamination.

What are other human Coronaviruses?

Two other common coronaviruses include MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV. MERS causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which usually progress to pneumonia if untreated. 3 or 4 of every ten patients suffering from coronavirus died. SARS symptoms include fever, chills, and body aches, which progress to pneumonia.

Can you contract the Coronavirus from dogs?

There is a chance that coronavirus can spread from dogs to humans. Coronavirus causes intestinal infections in dogs. The incubation period in dogs ranges from 1-4 days. It’s essential to look out for symptoms in dogs like sudden onset of Diarrhoea accompanied by decreased appetite. The stool is loose with an orange tint and may contain blood or mucus. The infection can be confused with a typical case of Diarrhoea.

Related: A fact-check update on the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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