Updated: Mar 17, 2020
259 deaths and over 11,000 infected is the latest balance of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus epidemic in China. The virus that causes acute pneumonia has also spread abroad, and cases of infection have been found in over a dozen other countries, including in the USA, Great Britain and France. One of its main symptoms is a high fever. Measurements of temperature of arriving and departing passengers are a standard procedure at airports, especially in Asia, however, during the coronavirus epidemic, this can also be seen at other airports.
What is the 2019-nCov Coronavirus?
Coronavirus 2019-nCoV is a virus that belongs to the coronavirus family (coronaviridae). Its name refers to the appearance of the virus under a microscope - spherical surfaces are covered with spikes, resembling crowns. Coronaviruses are the generic name for the Coronavirinae subfamily viruses found in four types: alpha, beta, delta and gamma. The carriers of these viruses are usually mammals or birds. It is hard to grow them in laboratory conditions. In the history of medicine, man also turned out to be a source of coronaviruses, especially in the case of the epidemic of SARS, several years ago.
Coronaviruses are common and tend to mutate at different genomes into various forms.
Since the family include many viruses that can cause various symptoms and diseases, e.g. mild, such as the common cold, but also severe as acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The 2019-nCoV coronavirus is the virus responsible for the current epidemic of respiratory infections in Wuhan, China, and was first identified there. Of the many coronavirus varieties, only six have attacked humans so far.
The one discovered in China, is the seventh such subtype.
The coronavirus has probably spread to humans as a result of consuming stale seafood or bat soup. The data, although inadequate, indicate the source of the virus transmission - it therefore also estimated that as a result of more frequent contact of people with representatives of various animal species, infections caused by coronavirus will not cease.
Coronavirus - how does infection occur?
Coronavirus is transmitted by humans and animals. The infection of the coronavirus occurs through i.e.
direct contact with when it comes into contact with secretions of an infected person (e.g. when providing medical assistance, at work, being in the same room, traveling together or living together), traveling to the region where the epidemic broke out within 14 days before the onset of symptoms, work in the place of providing medical help, where patients with the coronavirus 2019-nCoV are and were treated.
Patients with confirmed coronavirus infection 2019-nCoV had mild to moderate symptoms of respiratory infection, such as fever, cough and dyspnoea.
Symptoms usually appear between day 2 and 14 after infection.
It should be remembered that similar symptoms may occur with many other diseases, especially respiratory infections, which are quite common in the autumn and winter season.
Another way of transmittance of the virus is through the skin of the hands, - it enters the respiratory tract when touching the mouth, nose and eyes, through direct contact (e.g. hands with which the patient often touches the nose and mouth), possible infection by contact with contaminated objects.
Coronavirus - where has the disease been diagnosed?
Over 11,000 cases of contracting the new coronavirus have already been officially confirmed. The vast majority were recorded in China.
However, the virus has also spread beyond the borders of this country. The presence of the sick on their territory has been confirmed by authorities in Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, Macau, India as well as the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the Philippines.
The Coronavirus has also appeared on other continents. Cases of illness have already been reported in Australia, the United States and Canada. The coronavirus has also reached Europe, namely France, Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Great Britain.
How can we prevent the spreading of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus.
The best way to prevent falling ill is to simply avoid contact with it.
The situation is steadily monitored.
Travelers should avoid close contact with ill people, in particular with respiratory symptoms; avoid visiting markets or other places with living or dead animals; avoid contact with animals, their excreta or faeces and observe hand and food hygiene (do not touch the mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand rub) and food.
In addition, due to the current high seasonal influenza activity in China, travelers should receive influenza vaccinations at least two weeks prior to travel, in accordance with relevant national and international recommendations.