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(Your questions answered about the novel coronavirus).
Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak
Lately, there has been widespread panic and confusion about a new virus, 2019 Novel Coronavirus, believed to have originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019.
Because of the seriousness of the virus and the climbing confirmed human cases, the World Health Organization is working diligently to track this disease, disrupt the chain of infection, and prevent the spread of illness.
For the moment, here’s what you should know about the virus, ways to help prevent transmission, symptoms and treatment, and what to expect.
What is Coronavirus?
It’s called the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), and it can cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe respiratory diseases (like pneumonia).
Coronaviruses are a family of zoonotic viruses or transmitted between animals and people.
The term, novel, means that this particular strain of the virus has never been identified.
Conversely, even though the virus may have started initially with an animal source, it seems to now be spreading only from person-to-person.
How Does the Novel Coronavirus Spread?
Like influenza, the coronavirus is usually spread by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Being in close contact with an infected individual can increase your chances of getting the novel coronavirus.
What are the Symptoms of 2019 Novel Coronavirus?
Since this is a new illness, reported symptoms had included:
- Shortness of breath; and
- Pneumonia-like symptoms.
Additionally, in severe cases, people have died.
Virus symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 days to as long as 14 days after exposure.
Prevention and Treatment of Coronavirus
To prevent the spreading of this virus, it’s important to:
- Wash your hands with soap and water;
- Avoid contact with sick people;
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw it into a trash receptacle;
- Disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched;
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands;
- Stay at home if you are sick; and
- Avoid sharing household items.
And, at this time, there is no specific antiviral treatment for 2019-nCoV infection and no vaccine.
Who is Most at Risk for Novel Coronavirus Infections?
As with any illness, young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for contracting the coronavirus.
Recent Travelers from China that feel Sick
If you have recently returned from China and think you may be sick with 2019-nCoV, you should:
- Seek medical attention immediately – call your doctor’s office or emergency room before you get there, and tell them of your recent travels and symptoms;
- Avoid contact with family members and other people;
- Wear a mask or use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing;
- Avoid traveling while you are sick;
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water (at least 20 seconds);
- Disinfect surfaces you have touched; and
- Avoid sharing household items.
Confirmed Cases of Wuhan Coronavirus
As of January 30, 2020, there are 8,137 confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus in China, included 171 deaths.
WHO State of Emergency: Novel Coronavirus
As of January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
Be sure to continue reading on the CDC website and the WHO website for frequent updates on the coronavirus.
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