Novel Coronavirus: The Story So Far

With more than 20,000 people being infected globally and more than 400 deaths in China alone due to Coronavirus, other countries concern its potential spread. Does this make it a public health emergency of international concern?

This write-up includes “who”, “what”, “when”, and “where” of this Novel Virus!

The current outbreak of novel Coronavirus was first reported in the Wuhan city of Hubei province, China. Various governments and institutions have come together to track the spread of the virus as well as expand their knowledge on the issue.

coronavirus
Image Source: Business Insider

History of Coronavirus

Corona virus is s group of virus that causes respiratory infections in both mammals and birds. It starts with a typical mild common cold. Rare cases like SARS, MERS, and the latest 2019-n-CoV can be a lethal epidemic calamity.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome was identified in the year 2003. It was thought to be an animal virus, perhaps bats and was first found in Guangdong province of southern China in 2002. The epidemic spread across 26 countries with more than 8000 cases reported in 2003. Most of the human to human transmission happened in health care due to lack of infection control and precautionary measures.

In 2012, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was identified in Saudi Arabia. The spread of the epidemic transpired across other Middle Eastern countries (that’s where the name came from). In May 2015, Korea saw the largest outbreak in the Arabian Peninsula.

As of 2015, there were no reports of both SARS and MERS. The recent outbreak of 2019-n-CoV has lead to serious concerns.

Information Source: World Health Organization

Nature of the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus first identified in the 1960s is a large family of virus Coronaviridae (single-stranded RNA virus) that causes illnesses ranging from a mild common cold to acute respiratory syndrome. The virus is found in both animals and humans. Coronavirus symptoms & signs can include fever, cough, cold, shortness of breath, and sore throat. Sometimes it also results in lung lesions and pneumonia.

Coronavirus: The Story So Far

How are China and the World acknowledging the new Coronavirus? Many countries, including India, have so far seen over 20, 000 cases of Coronavirus infection cases globally. Countries across the globe are undertaking several steps to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan (the center of Epidemic).

Coronavirus: The Story So Far
Image Source: World Health Organization

As per WHO data, on January 30, 2020, about 7736 confirmed cases have been found in China alone. The first confirmed cases from other countries those who have travel history to Wuhan City include Finland, India, and Philippines. The disease continued to spread throughout Asia and other continents.

The Spread Of Corona Virus
Image Source: Borneo Post Online

The emergency committee on novel Coronavirus under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), is working to provide public health advice or suggests formal Temporary Recommendations, as appropriate.

The novel Coronavirus outbreak emanated on December 31, 2019, when China informed the World Health Organization of a bunch of episodes of pneumonia of an unknown cause in Wuhan City in Hubei Province. On January 9, 2020, WHO released a statement saying Chinese investigators have actually made the initial perception of the virus as a novel Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Strain
Image Source: Statista

Ever since then thousands of instances of this new Coronavirus have actually been reported from various provinces in China. The fatalities due to Coronavirus now stand at 425 (as of 4 February 2020). Cases have been reported from several countries, consisting of India. The novel Coronavirus has procured the capacity to circulate amidst humans, with first outside China cases of human-to-human transmissions being proclaimed in Vietnam as well as Germany.

Chinese specialists & researchers have recently shared the entire genome series of the novel Coronavirus, nevertheless besides some standard information, very little is known about the virus in terms of its origin, the exact period of incubation, extent, treatment, and what makes it quite easily transmissible.

Coronavirus cases in India

WHO recently declared novel Coronavirus a ‘public health hazard’ to countries globally. India has recently found three cases of Coronavirus in Kerala, making the state an ‘epidemic’. The decision was taken by the government of Kerala after three individuals who have returned from the city of Wuhan were tested positive.

As of 3 February 2020, over 2000 passengers from China & other n-CoV affected nations have been put under scrutiny in Kerala.

The State Health Department has reported that about 84 have been admitted to hospitals in various districts. 46 out of 140 samples sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, have been detected negative. The hospitals have confirmed that the condition of the individuals under isolated surveillance is stable so far and are being closely monitored.

According to doctors, Coronavirus symptoms start with fever and cough, which further leads to respiratory issues.

The Government with the State Health Department has taken several measures as soon as public health alert was issued by WHO. The surveillance teams are working towards ascertaining the exact number of Indian students from Wuhan. Airport surveillance including regulated and monitoring measures assisted by various departments and local bodies along with the State Health Department is keeping a track of all those who have returned from China.

A 24×7 helpline “DISHA 1056” pledged that an individual, who had signs & symptoms, are picked up in a special ambulance as well as promptly moved to healthcare facilities with seclusion centers.

Information Source: The Hindu

Way Forward

With WHO declaring n-CoV a public health concern, the Coronavirus has made headlines as it has spread from China to other countries. As rightly said, “Prevention is better than cure”, it is significant to keep yourself informed about the spread of the new virus. There is no vaccine to prevent the novel Coronavirus infection for now. Experts suggest doing the similar things as you do to avoid flu. The best way is to maintain a healthy diet and hygiene. Wash your hands often, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and avoid close contact with sick people.

P.S- If you are experiencing even mild cold or fever, visit your healthcare specialist immediately and take proper bed rest.

Information Source: CDC

Note: This article is for informational purposes. The content written is derived from the WHO website and news articles- The Hindu & Time of India.

About the Author: After completing her engineering, Dhara Sachdeva followed her passion for writing content. She compiles content on myriad topics. She has always loved good stories, and when she is not writing, she either pursues her passion for decorating homes or eats delicious meals.

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