Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause disease in animals. Seven, including the new virus, have made the jump to humans but most just cause common cold-like symptoms.
Two coronaviruses – Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) – are much more severe, having killed more than 1,500 people between them since 2002.
The new virus, known as Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is also more dangerous. So far, around 15 to 20 per cent of hospital cases have been classed as “severe” and the current death rate stands at about two per cent.
According to the NHS and the WHO, symptoms of the Wuhan coronavirus usually include:
Symptoms are thought to appear between two and 10 days after contracting the virus.
There is also some evidence, as yet unconfirmed, that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people - that is people who carry the virus but are not yet very sick.
If this is correct it may make the virus considerably more difficult to control.
Hand hygiene is the first and most important line of defence.
Like cold and flu bugs, the new virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.
It follows that the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitising gel.
Also try to avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands – something we all do unconsciously on average about 15 times an hour.
Other tips include:
Regularly clean, not just your hands, but commonly used surfaces and devices you touch or handle.
Date of Input: 05/02/2020 | Updated: 05/02/2020 | aynafarhana
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