What is Conoravirus?

By on February 6, 2020
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According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and people. SARS, for instance, was believed to have been transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS travelled from a type of camel to humans.

Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus is reminiscent of a solar corona.

A novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and named 2019-nCoV, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans.

Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.

How deadly is it?
Some experts say it may not be as deadly as other types of coronavirus such as SARS, which killed nearly 800 people worldwide, more than 300 in China alone – during a 2002-2003 outbreak that also originated in China.

MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of those it infected.

In China, however, the infection is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers.

What are the symptoms?
According to the WHO, signs of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure and even death.

The incubation period of the coronavirus remains unknown. Some sources say it could be between 10 and 14 days.

Is this a global emergency?
The outbreak constitutes a global health emergency, the WHO has said.

The decision to sound the top-level alarm was made after the first cases of human-to-human transmission outside China were confirmed.

The international health alert is a call on countries around the world to coordinate their response under the guidance of the United Nations health agency.

There have been five global health emergencies since 2005 when the declaration was formalised: swine flu in 2009; polio in 2014; Ebola in 2014; Zika in 2016 and Ebola again in 2019.

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