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Viruses and diseases evolve at a rapid rate. At the end of 2019, a new and potentially fatal virus was discovered, and it originated in China. With the widespread fear and panic currently sweeping the globe, here’s everything you need to know. Including potentially life saving precautions against the Coronavirus.
What Is The Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is an acute respiratory illness that was first detected in Wuhan, China. It was originally speculated that it was spread through animal-to-human contact after linking the outbreak to a large seafood and animal market. That theory has since evolved, as people who have not had contact with animals have been diagnosed with the virus.
This suggests the virus is spread through human-to-human contact, though, it has not specifically been determined how.
Just How Dangerous Is It?
The Coronavirus outbreak is impacting people differently. Some display little to no symptoms, while others have become severely ill and died after exposure.
The virus is a mild to severe respiratory illness that includes fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The most severe cases can lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, and death.
Recent U.S. Outbreak
There are currently 110 people under investigation for the virus in the United States. Only five US Coronavirus cases have been confirmed as positive.
States with confirmed US Coronavirus cases include Washington, California, Arizona, and Illinois. The five people with confirmed cases from the Coronavirus outbreak had all visited Wuhan, China recently.
Where It Originated
The Coronavirus outbreak was first detected in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. The first virus case reported was in the state of Washington. It has since been confirmed to have spread to three additional states. Two cases have been confirmed in California, one case in Arizona, and one case has been confirmed in Illinois.
More cases and states may be added to the list as the Center for Disease Control, or CDC, continues to investigate people that are potentially infected with the virus.
How To Diagnose The Deadly Virus
The only way to confirm diagnosis of US Coronavirus cases is through testing conducted by the CDC. State and local health departments will collect, store, and ship specimens appropriately under the guidance of the CDC for testing if it suspected that a person has the virus.
Employees from the CDC have screened more than 2,000 passengers arriving from Wuhan, China across five airports for symptoms of the virus. However, these screening attempts may not catch all patients who are infected, as the incubation period can last up to a week.
Symptoms to Watch For
The primary symptoms of the virus are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you have these symptoms but have not recently traveled to Wuhan, China or been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus, it is likely that you are experiencing a cold or the flu.
If you have been to Wuhan, China or have been in contact with someone confirmed to have the virus and develop these symptoms within 14 days, seek medical care right away.
Coronavirus Precautions: Prevention and Treatment
As with any virus or disease, it is important to learn how to prevent and treat the Coronavirus. You can take precautions to avoid infection, and treatment options are in development.
How to Protect Yourself and Others
To avoid becoming infected, the main Coronavirus precautions are that you avoid all unnecessary travel to China and that you avoid contact with those who have recently traveled to China. Coronavirus precautions are similar to those of any respiratory virus, including:
- Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you are unable to use soap and water.
- Avoiding contact between unwashed hands and your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoiding close contact with others who are sick.
- Staying home if you are sick.
- Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and then discarding the tissue.
- Frequently cleaning and disinfecting items and surfaces that are commonly touched.
- Wearing a surgical mask.
As the virus was originally believed to spread through animal-to-human contact, it is recommended that all meat and eggs are cooked thoroughly to avoid infection.
There is no specific antiviral treatment available for those infected with the virus. All people should follow the Coronavirus precautions listed above to avoid infection. Those infected should seek supportive care, including support to vital organs, to help relieve symptoms of the virus.