If you read the news today, there’s a lot of conversation about the new Coronavirus called 2019-nCoV. America documented its first travel-related case of 2019-nCoV in January 2020 in Washington State. Coronavirus typically causes gastroenteritis and respiratory infections in birds and mammals. This newly-identified Coronavirus has crossed over to infect humans, this is called a zoonotic infection. At the time of this writeup, the infection has been detected in 16 health care workers. Health care workers should utilize masks, gloves or personal protective equipment as well as pay attention to diligent handwashing.
Coronavirus was found to be among the family of the disease-causing virus of the respiratory tract. Coronavirus was first isolated in 1937 from birds who had infectious bronchitis, a condition that can cause serious harm to poultry livestock.
There are 7 different types of Coronaviruses. They include;
• 229E (alpha Coronavirus)
• NL63 (alpha Coronavirus)
• OC43 (beta Coronavirus)
• HKU1 (beta Coronavirus)
• The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
• The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV).
• The New Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
The new Coronavirus is the latest form of Coronavirus infection. It was firstly identified in Wuhan, China in 2019 and is currently spreading widely to several other countries.
The new Coronavirus is also known as 2019-nCoV as named according to its year of discovery and has caused a lot of mortality.
Epidemiology and Transmission
According to BBC, on 23rd January 2019, there were more than five hundred (500) confirmed cases and seventeen (17) mortalities caused by 2019-nCoV virus in China.
The World Health Organization also pointed out that fifty-one (51) people with 2019-nCoV were severely ill and twelve (12) were in critical condition.
The primary mode of transmission is from animal to humans. In limited cases, the virus has been found to spread from human to human. Researchers have suggested that 2019-nCoV may have originated in bats, then spread to snakes, then humans.
The Center for Disease Control says that this virus can be spread from an infected person to a healthy person in the following ways;
• Air (from a cough or sneeze)
• Close personal contact
• Touching an object or surface with viral particles, then touching mouth, nose, or eyes before washing hands.
Researchers are still investigating the cause of the spread of this disease.
2019-nCoV can be prevented through the following ways;
• Avoid contact with sick people when travelling to endemic places.
• Avoid dead or living animals or animal products such as uncooked snake meat when in endemic areas.
• Screening for ill passengers by checking temperature or the use of thermal cameras and quarantine procedures implemented.
• Hands should be often washed with soap and water.
The symptoms of the 2019-nCoV virus include
• Frequent sneezing
• Nasal congestion
• Sore throat
• Difficulty in breathing
The 2019-nCoV causes a respiratory illness that can lead to serious viral pneumonia. It also causes gastroenteritis in babies. Older adults and people with a weakened immune system are predisposed to infection with 2019-nCoV.
Diagnosis is with blood serology testing or RT-PCR.
There is no specific treatment for this viral infection.
The CDC reported that people can recover on their own through
• rest and
• medication to relieve symptoms
• Drinking enough water
• Avoid smoking and smoky areas
• Using a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer
There is currently no vaccine for this virus.
Written by Ms. Chijioke BSc Parasitology
Foreward by Dr. Onuoha
Image of random test tubes by GoDaddy stock
Disclaimer: This post is for general information. As more becomes clear about this new virus, updated information should be sought from the CDC website.