Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Coronavirus is zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans. While MERS-CoV was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans. Several known Coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Common Symptoms of Coronavirus
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, lack of taste and smell, and sometimes a fever.
In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia if it spreads to your lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can lead to severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death especially in older people. People with heart disease or people with weakened immune systems are also more prone to it.
Prevention of Coronavirus
There is no vaccine for coronavirus as of yet. To help prevent a coronavirus infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold :
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
- Get plenty of rest
- Drink fluids
- Use a humidifier or steamy shower to help ease a sore and scratchy throat.
If you are experiencing symptoms, you should tell your healthcare provider about any recent travel or contact with animals. Most MERS-CoV infections have been reported from countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Therefore reporting a travel history or contact with camels or camel products is very important when trying to diagnose MERS.