Should YOU be concerned about the Coronavirus?

Where do we stand? Should YOU be concerned about the Coronavirus? What is Coronavirus and why regular medications are of no use?

As of 31st Jan, Ministry of Health has reported 8 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Malaysia. There are a total of 8,163 confirmed cases with 170 deaths worldwide. WHO has recently declared Global Health Emergency. The number is rapidly escalating and it shows how rapidly the Wuhan virus has spread over the past weeks when the viral pneumonia was first detected in Wuhan. It reminds us of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak 17 years ago with 8,098 people infected, killing nearly 800 people. It is a grave concern as the number of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) seems to be overtaking SARS figures. The case fatality rate of Wuhan Coronavirus is not conclusive because in order to get the exact figure, we need to know how many people in a population have virus and how many die from it. Also, we are not sure if the surviving patients will get better or the other way round.

Coronavirus Schematic Diagram Novelcoronavirus(Left), Betacoronavirus (Right)

The newly discovered, 2019-nCoV is a betacoronavirus, is a new strain that has not previously discovered in humans. It is a large family of viruses that may cause respiratory illness ranging from common cold to MERS and SARS. These coronaviruses are zoonotic as SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to human and MERS-CoV came from dromedary camels to human. Coronaviruses are named after their microscopic appearance of a crown with pointed structures surrounding the virus. The virus is probably originally emerged from an animal source to human but now seems to be spreading human-to-human transmission.

This 2019-nCoV from Wuhan is responsible to cause viral pneumonia.  is a respiratory infection characterized by inflammation of the alveolar space or the interstitial tissue of the lungs. As it is a viral pneumonia, regular antibiotics are used to combat bacteria but it is of no use in case of viral infection. The usual antiviral against flu will not work as well. As of now, there is no specific antiviral treatment or vaccine against 2019-nCoV. Cases are being treated symptomatically with supportive measures and isolation. It is crucial to reduce exposure and transmission by maintaining good hygiene with frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with people suffering from respiratory infections, avoid unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals, and stay covered when coughing or sneezing. Nevertheless, stay healthy with a good immune system.

30th January 2020

SHINE health updates and warm reminder!



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