The Deadly Coronavirus Disease Outbreak
Coronavirus, with its origin in Wuhan, has now been declared as a global health emergency by WHO. What exactly is a coronavirus and how did it all start? Coronavirus or CoV belongs to a large family of viruses. The symptoms of the virus are illness which could either be like common cold or some severe diseases like MERS-CoV which is Middle East respiratory syndrome and SARS-CoV or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. nCoV is the novel coronavirus that is a new strain and this was not identified in humans before. Coronavirus has a crown-like shape and this is how the virus got its name
Coronavirus is zoonotic
Zoonotic means transmission from animals to humans. As per the latest investigations Coronavirus got transmitted to humans from animals that were being sold in China in the Wuhan market. SARS-CoV got transmitted from the civet cats and MERS-CoV was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans. Many other known coronaviruses are present in animals but have not infected humans yet.
How did it all start?
Experts are still searching for the source of this virus and how it started to affect humans. Its origin is being traced to Wuhan in China. The coronavirus disease started in the Wuhan seafood market. This is where wild animals like rabbits, birds, snakes, marmots, and bats are illegally traded. Coronavirus gets transmitted from animals to humans and thus as per studies the first people who got infected with this virus were a group of people who had stalls in the Wuhan seafood market. They contacted this virus when they came in contact with animals that carried coronavirus. There is still analysis going in to understand how and when the infections started and began to spread and how coronavirus got its initial route and infected humans.
Types of Coronavirus
The human Coronavirus is of different types and they vary in how far they spread and the severity of illness that they can cause. At present, seven kinds of coronavirus can affect humans. The common ones are:
- Alpha coronavirus – 229E
- Alpha coronavirus – NL63
- Beta coronavirus – OC43
- Beta coronavirus – HKU1
MERS-CoV is responsible to cause MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and SARS-CoV causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. These are the more dangerous but rare kinds of the virus. There is another virus called novel coronavirus (2019 – nCoV) that is circulating. This is the dangerous strain that started affecting humans in 2019. However, there is still no official name for this virus.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
Coronavirus starts to show symptoms of flu or cold in two to four days’ time after one gets infected. The symptoms are usually mild and it varies from one individual to another. Some virus forms are fatal.
The common symptoms of Coronavirus include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Fever in rare cases
There is no available treatment for Coronavirus. Taking rest, drinking lots of water, avoiding smoky areas and taking over-the-counter pain and fever relief medications are the only solutions that are offered.
It is not possible to cultivate human Coronavirus in the laboratory and this makes it difficult to understand what impact coronavirus can have on public health and on the national economy.