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China coronavirus can spread between humans: How to protect yourself from SARS-like virus

Chinese experts have confirmed on Monday, 20 January 2020, that the novel coronavirus, a cousin of the SARS virus, is contagious between humans, meaning the virus can be transmitted from one person to another. The new strain of coronavirus linked to the outbreak of mysterious viral pneumonia in the city of Wuhan has claimed at least four lives so far.

Till date, the total number of people affected by the deadly virus has gone up to 218. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is holding an emergency meeting in Geneva to decide if the new coronavirus that causes pneumonia-like illness is an international emergency. The discovery of human-to-human transmission comes even as the deadly virus has spread across China and reached three other Asian countries – Thailand, Japan, and South Korea.

Symptoms of coronavirus

Sadly, the new coronavirus, which the CDC is calling 2019-nCoV, doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment. The outbreak of the illness in the central Chinese city has been linked to a large seafood and animal market. Symptoms of respiratory disease include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, etc. Health agencies, including WHO, said coronaviruses can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Novel coronavirus transmission: Know how the virus spreads

Coronaviruses, including the novel strain discovered in Wuhan, can be spread from one person to another. Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert for the Chinese government, confirmed that the new virus could spread more quickly and widely than feared through human contact.

“Currently, it can be said it is affirmative that there is the phenomenon of human-to-human transmission,” he was quoted as saying by CCTV in an interview.

As per the in most cases, the human transmission of coronaviruses spread from an infected person to others through:

  • Close contact such as shaking hands or touching
  • The air by coughing and sneezing
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it – this happens when a person with contaminated hands touches their your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing their hands
  • Fecal contamination in rare cases

Treatment and prevention for coronavirus

Currently, there is no specific treatment for the respiratory illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Perhaps, there are currently no vaccines available that can help prevent the infection. However, all of us can reduce the risk of infection by taking a few steps such as the following:

  • Adopt good personal hygiene like washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, mouth
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick and experiencing symptoms
  • Avoid contact with sick animals
  • Do not go to farms, markets, barns, or other places where dromedary camels and other animals are kept
  • Wash your hands properly before and after touching animals
  • Avoid starvation or anything that can reduce your immunity

 says consumption of raw or undercooked animal products – such as milk and meat – may carry a high risk of infection from a variety of organisms that might cause disease in humans.

How to stop the virus from spreading

If you’re unwell and have respiratory symptoms, follow these steps to avoid transmitting the virus to others:

  • Do not go to school/workplace while you are sick
  • Do not come close to others
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue while sneezing or coughing, ensuring that the used tissues are thrown into the trash and you wash your hands
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch

Patients are usually prescribed pain and fever medications to help relieve the symptoms. A steamy shower or humidifier can also help relieve a sore throat. They should take plenty of fluids, stay home and get adequate rest to recover faster.

Seek immediate medical help if you have any respiratory symptoms that concern you.

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