Hundreds of people have been infected by a new coronavirus which began in Wuhan, China. Scientist Leo Poon, the first one to decode the virus, claims that it most likely came from an animal at one of the wet markets in Wuhan, where both live and dead animals are sold, and spread to people from there. Although deemed not as deadly as SARS, it is still better to be safe than sorry. Read up on everything you need to know about the coronavirus here.
What is a Coronavirus?
A coronavirus is basically a big group of viruses common among animals. Sometimes, they can be zoonotic, which means they can spread from animals to people. As of writing, officials still have not pinpointed which animal might have caused the outbreak, though some have pointed at bats and snakes.
It has already been confirmed that the Wuhan virus can be spread from human to human. This could happen if you come into contact with the secretions of an infected person, like their cough droplets. Coughing, sneezing, and handshakes may also expose you to the virus. It may also be spread through touch, i.e. you touch something that an infected person has touched, and then touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
The symptoms of a coronavirus are similar to that of a common cold: a cough, a sore throat, a runny nose, and maybe a fever and a headache. These symptoms can last for a few days. If your immune system is weak, you could also get bronchitis or pneumonia.
It may take a while for symptoms of the Wuhan virus to appear. Current patients have experienced a mild cough for about a week before having trouble breathing and then visiting the hospital because of it.
There is no treatment for the virus yet, but experts say symptoms should go away on their own as long as they seek care early on. If you are experiencing symptoms worse than a common cold, visit your doctor right away.
There is no vaccine yet, but trials are currently underway. It could take months or even years for it to become available, though.
What you can do for now is avoid people who are sick at all costs. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and make sure to wash your hands often. If you happen to be sick, let your doctor know so you can get treated right away. Avoid traveling to China for the meantime, as well, and especially avoid wet markets.
Yesterday, a Brazilian family who had come from Wuhan to Palawan was hospitalized for having coronavirus symptoms. 500 Chinese tourists have also already been sent back to Wuhan to avoid an outbreak in the Philippines.
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