The world has seen and overcome many viruses that have threatened the human population, and once again, we find ourselves in another situation with regard to the most recent coronavirus outbreak.
What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses are referred to as a virus, usually responsible for colds and infections that affect an individual’s upper respiratory system. These types of viruses are categorized as zoonoses, which means they can infect and spread from animals to humans. For the most part, coronaviruses aren’t dangerous and tend to dissipate over time with rest, fluids, or the intervention of antibiotics. The danger comes into play when the virus mutates and becomes resistant to our immune system and other external defences (i.e., antibiotics). While the current version of the coronavirus is what’s getting most of the media attention, there are other variations of the virus, such as:
- MERS-CoV – MERS-CoV stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, a viral respiratory illness responsible for MERS. The origins of MERS is thought to have come from an animal source (most likely direct contact with camels) in the Arabian Peninsula.
- SARS-CoV – SARS-CoV stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome, a viral respiratory illness responsible for SARS. The first reported cases of SARS originated in Asia in 2003 and spread to over two dozen countries before being contained later on that same year. Since 2004 there hasn’t been a single case of SARS reported anywhere in the world.
Symptoms associated with coronaviruses are identical to the symptoms of any other upper respiratory infection. The 2019-nCoV or the 2019 Novel Coronavirus symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Common coronavirus symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- A general feeling of being unwell
How is it Diagnosed?
The process of accurately diagnosing human coronavirus requires a laboratory test which consists of the sampling of an individual’s respiratory specimens and blood by a health care professional, according to the CDC
Where Did the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Come From?
According to information gathered by Healthline
, from a study published in The Lancet, there is evidence that suggests the new strain of coronavirus originated from bats. When it comes to deadly pathogens, bats have been known to carry virus strains, like the SARS virus that killed close to 800 people around the world back in 2003. So, the idea that bats could have possibly passed the deadly virus on to humans is extremely plausible.
It is suggested that the method in which the 2019-nCoV spreads from person to person occurs due to close contact (approximately 1.83 m) with those who are infected with the virus. Specifically, the mode to transmission, concerning the virus is initiated via respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected individual sneezes or coughs. When the respiratory droplets are inhaled through the nose or mouth, the inhaler is then infected, thus acquiring the virus. What makes this version of the coronavirus different from the rest of the variations is that it can be spread when an infected person shows no signs of sickness, as opposed to other respiratory infections that are usually spread when an infected individual is at their sickest.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Wash your hands.
- Wear disposal protective half-face masks in public.
Should You Be Worried About the Coronavirus?
Those who are most likely to contract the 2019-nCoV are those in poor health (i.e., elderly), and those who have had direct contact with someone from Wuhan, China. To lower your risk of contracting the virus, take the proper precautions to protect yourself, like washing your hands and wearing protective face guards that cover your nose and mouth when you’re out in public.