2019-Coronavirus Scare-What We All Need To Know
What is the 2019 Coronavirus?
2019 Coronavirus is a virus similar to any other influenza virus but with a severe outcome if one gets infected by it.
Coronaviruses belong to a group of viruses known as Coronoviridae. Under an electron microscope, they look like spiked rings as shown above.
In India, we are having a bout of influenza going around due to severe winter in the northern states and other states having mild to moderate winter.
This influenza has symptoms similar to Coronavirus disease but is milder. About 3 to 4 cases have been reported in Kerala state of India, and these patients are those who have recently arrived from China.
What does the virus do?
The spikes on the viral envelope help them to bind to the living cells of any animal or of the human body. This opens the door for the entry of the virus into a cell. They later multiply in the same cell and then infect other cells in a similar manner, thereby spreading to different parts of the body and causing inflammation all over the body. The respiratory system of human beings is affected the most.
What is the source of this virus?
Coronavirus is found mostly in livestock, household pets, and wildlife such as bats and snakes. In China, where this virus is taking its toll, the cause has been found to be the consumption of snake meat.
How does Coronavirus spread?
In humans, the virus is known to spread by:-
- Eating infected non- vegetarian food . In China, it was suspected to be due to eating snakes and fish. So avoid eating non- vegetarian food for the time being.
- A person infected with coronavirus gets symptoms of upper and lower respiratory tract, for example, cold and cough. When they sneeze or cough, they emit more than a million droplets which carry the virus and if someone inhales it, they get exposed to the virus. That person can get ill after 2 to 14 days.
What are the signs and symptoms of Corona virus disease?
The signs and symptoms of Corona virus disease are similar to that of any influenza infection.
- Sneezing, runny nose, cough
- Bodyache and headache
- Extreme weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Loose motion
- Breathing problems if he/ she gets pneumonia.
Is there any test/treatment for the disease?
The tests to find out if you are having 2019- nCov infection are limited. Polymer chain reaction test(PCR) – has been carried out in many big hospitals in the USA. This is a fair costly test and very few centres in India have them. Another test commonly carried out is CBC or the complete blood count. This may show rise in lymphocyte count.
At present there has been no proven treatment for the disease. Treatment is mainly supportive, like:-
- Bringing down fever with paracetamol.
- Drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration due to fever. Warm vegetable soups will help a lot to relieve symptoms.
- Antibiotics if you are having cough and cold.
- Total bed rest .
- Hospital admission if patient develops signs and symptoms of severe breathing problem or pneumonia.
What are the precautions to be taken to avoid getting/ spreading the disease?
The World Health Organization(WHO) has recently released an illustration( as shown below):-
These few precautionary measures will help prevent 2019-nCov.
To know more about the disease, please visit this website .