An outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus continues to spread with health officials reporting thousands of infections detected to date.
Infections of the virus, scientifically known as 2019-nCoV, are being reported internationally, as well as in the United States. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”
What is a Coronavirus
2019-nCoV is a betacoronavirus, like MERS and SARS, all of which originated in bats. Both MERS and SARS have been known to cause severe illness in people. For example, the acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which was first reported in Asia in 2003, spread to two dozen countries, infected 8,098 people and caused 774 deaths before it was contained.
This virus can mutate easily and can jump from animals to humans. However, a growing number of patients reported they were not exposed to animals, indicating a spread between people in China, and now the U.S. and other countries.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Common coronaviruses typically cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illness, and those affected exhibit cold-like symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
- Sore Throat
- Runny Nose
The risk from these outbreaks depends on characteristics of the virus, including whether and how well it spreads between people, the severity of resulting illness, and the medical treatment available to control the impact of the virus.
More cases are likely to be identified, including more cases in the United States. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending the following:
- Get vaccinated – taking everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Be on the look-out for people with travel history to China, as well as fever and respiratory symptoms.
- For people who may have the infection – follow CDC’s Risk Reduction Guide.
- For travelers, stay up to date with CDC’s travel health notices related to the outbreak.
Information provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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