Corona-viruses are a large family of viruses that cause not only the common cold but also more serious respiratory diseases.
According to the WHO, corona-viruses are a virus family which is responsible from common cold to many fatal diseases like SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome MERS.
WHERE DID THE VIRUS ORIGINATED:
The name Corona-virus comes from a Latin word Corona, meaning Crown or Halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus is reminiscent of a solar corona.
Chinese authorities are still trying to determine the origin of the virus, which they say likely came from a seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife was also traded illegally.
These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and humans. SARS, for example; it was believed to have been transmitted from civet cuts to humans while MERS traveled from a type of Camel to humans. Corona-virus are circulating in animals that have not infected human yet.
The WHO also says an animal source appears most likely to the primary source of the outbreak.
On February 2, officials in Hubie said the virus had a 96 percent concordance with an already-known bat-borne corona-virus. Snakes are mentioned as a possible source too, by scientists. A novel corona-virus (2019-nCOV) was identified as a source of the illness on January 7, with the infection traced to a Wuhan seafood market that also sold live animals.
HOW DEADLY IS IT?
According to some experts, it may not be as deadly as other types of corona-virus such as SARS, by which nearly 800 people were killed worldwide, more than 300 in China alone — during a 2002-2003 outbreak that also originated in China. MERS, which did not spread as widely, was more deadly, killed one-third of those it infected.
WHERE HAVE CASES BEEN REPORTED:
Most of the cases and deaths are been reported in China – the vast majority in Hubie Province.
So far, the Philippines is the only country that has reported a death from a new virus outside of China – tha mainland.
The virus has spread to many Asian countries, as well as Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Nearly all of the cases outside China are among people who recently traveled China.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS:
According to WHO signs of infection includes fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing.
In more serious cases it can also lead to Pneumonia, SARS, Kidney failure and even death.
The incubation period of the Corona-virus is still unknown, but according to some sources, it could be between 10 and 14 days.
EFFORTS OF SCIENTISTS AND PEOPLE TO STOP THIS VIRUS FROM SPREADING:
Scientist are working on a vaccine but have warned one is likely to be available for mass distribution before 2021.
Wuhan is sealed off by Chinese authorities, and have placed restrictions on travel to and from several other cities, affecting some 56 million people.
Many airlines have cancelled flights China, while some countries have banned Chinese nationals from entering and have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan.
IS THIS A GLOBAL EMERGENCY:
The outbreak constitutes a global health emergency, the WHO said.
The decision to sound the top-level alarm was made after the first cases human-to-human transmission outside China were confirmed.
The international health alter is a call on coordination their response under the guidance of United Nations health agency.