Coronavirus is highly contagious and is spreading at a lightning speed around the world. The virus has already infected people in close to 70 countries. According to the World Health Organisation, there are 92,819 confirmed cases and 3,164 deaths
reported globally. In India, total number of confirmed cases rose to 28 on Wednesday after an Italian tourist in Jaipur tested positive. So what is coronavirus and how can it be transmitted? Here is what you need to know:
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. The present scare is because of COVID-19, an infectious diseases caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. The outbreak began in Wuhan in China in December, 2019.
The virus can be transmitted between animals and people. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Will the coronavirus spread through cough?
People can catch the virus from others. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch the virus by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
People can also fall victim to virus even if they breathe in droplets from a person infected who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.
What is a viral droplet?
It is a droplet which contains viral particles. A virus is always dependent on a microbe that attaches to a cell, which it takes over, increases its strength and moves on to its next host, according to WHO. A virus cannot go anywhere unless it is riding with a droplet of or saliva or droplets from the mouth. So when you cough or sneeze, then saliva droplets are ejected from the mouth. The virus waitng for a prey will lash on to the droplet, making it a viral droplet.
Can the virus be transmitted through the air?
Many Studies suggest that the virus is mainly transmitted through contact with respiratory droplets rather than through the air.
Can you be infected from the feces of someone with the disease?
The risk of catching the virus from the feces of an infected person appears to be low as of now.
Are older people prone to catch virus quickly?
There is no conclusive research established till date as to coronavirus affects people with a specific age. However, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions are expected to fall ill more often than others.
Are women less likely to fall victim to coronavirus?
Women may catch the disease just as often as men. But, according to a WHO report, only 2.8 per cent of Chinese women who were infected died from the disease, while 4.7 per cent of the infected men died.
Can kissing an infected person lead to transmission of Coronavirus?
Kissing with an infected person could definitely infect the other, although coronaviruses are not typically sexually transmitted, according to a New York Times report quoting several experts.
If you go into crowded areas, will you get sick?
Whether you catch the infection or not depends on how close you get; how long you are near the person; whether that person projects viral droplets on you.
Can you get infected from your pet?
There is no evidence that companion animals or pets such as cats and dogs have been infected or could spread the virus, according to WHO.
Is there is any treatment found to combat the virus?
Even though medical scientists are working day and night and trying some experimental treatments, no drugs or vaccines have been proven effective against the virus yet. These include Remdesivir, an antiviral drug that was originally developed for Ebola, which was given to the patient in Washington State and is being given to some patients in China.
If you are suspected of infection and tested negative, are you out of danger?
A single negative test may not rule out infection. Repeat testing may be necessary to determine if a suspected person has been infected or when a patient is no longer infectious.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection
According to the WHO, standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.