Chinese authorities have warned that a mysterious Sars-like virus that has killed more than 40 people and continues to infect hundreds may spread further.
The virus has already reached the United States, while the other neighboring countries have issued strict travel warnings to curb the spread.
The corona virus has raised the alarm due to its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed nearly 650 people in mainland China and Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003.
Here are some key points about the coronavirus. The United Nations Health Department says the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan is an unprecedented burden. It belongs to a wide family of viruses that range from colds to serious diseases like SARS. According to Arnaud Fontanet, head of the epidemiology department at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the new strain is the seventh known type of coronavirus that people can contract.
We believe the source could have been animals sold in the market and from there it passed to the human population, “he told AFP. The World Health Organization (WHO) says an “animal source appears to be the most likely primary source … with limited human-to-human transmission between close contacts”. The outbreak has raised the alarm due to the association with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong between 2002 and 2003. According to Fontanet, the current virus strain was 80 percent genetically identical to SARS, which also leads to severe breathing problems. In China, 218 people have now been diagnosed with the virus and the outbreak has already claimed three lives.
What are the coronavirus symptoms?
You should see a doctor if you live in an area where the virus has been reported and have flu-like symptoms such as the following:
According to Fontanet, the current virus strain was 80 percent genetically identical to SARS, which also leads to severe breathing problems to cough shortness of breath
Reason to worry?
Fontanet said the coronavirus was “weaker” than SARS in its current form, but warned that it could mutate into a more virulent strain.
We have no evidence that this virus will mutate, but that’s exactly what happened to SARS, “he said. The virus was only in circulation for a short time, so it is too early to say so.
Currently, there is a phenomenon of human-to-human transmission, “said Zhong Nanshan, a renowned National Health Commission scientist who helped uncover the extent of the SARS outbreak, in an interview with CCTV Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome charity, said, “It is clear that the coronavirus is transmitted to some extent from person to person.”
Given the volume of air travel in Asia, there is a risk of widespread contamination, said his colleague Mike Turner.
We are all more concerned than three days ago, “he added. One of the consequences of a networked world is that international outbreaks can spread much faster than 50 years ago.
Scientists from the MRC Center for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College, London, warned in a paper last week that the number of cases in Wuhan would likely be 1,700 – much higher than the officially identified number.
The WHO has advised to protect yourself from the virus by washing your hands thoroughly, covering your nose when you sneeze, cooking meat and eggs thoroughly and avoiding close contact with wild or farm animals.
On Friday, the U.S. disease control and prevention centers announced that they would conduct a more thorough review of passengers arriving on Wuhan direct or connecting flights.
According to Fontanet, Chinese health workers have responded admirably by quickly testing patients and tracking cases to the market in question. We learned a few lessons from SARS.
We are better armed and more responsive, “he said. Adam Kamradt-Scott, an infectious disease dissemination and control expert at the University of Sydney, said China “quickly shared the genome sequencing of this novel coronavirus with others.”
This has enabled this new case to be identified in Japan, “he said. This transparency stands in contrast to the onset of the SARS epidemic, Fontanet said, when China “hid history for two or three months” at the start of the outbreak.