Himali Meshram
07 Feb, 2020

Coronavirus belongs to a family of respiratory viruses that can cause diseases from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndromes. On 31 December 2019, a group of pneumonia with unknown etiology was reported from Wuhan city, China and on 9 January 2020, authorities reported in media to be identified as new type of coronavirus; novel coronavirus(2019-nCoV) which was different from other human coronaviruses identified so far. Over 11821 confirmed cases have been reported from China with 259 deaths as reported on 1st February 2020 with a total of 11953 confirmed cases globally. The first confirmed case from India was reported on 30 January 2020- a Keralite student from Wuhan University.

People of all age groups can be affected by novel coronavirus. People who have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and older people are more prone to get severely ill. The clinical findings include fever, cough, difficulty in breathing and chest radiographs may show bilateral lung infiltrates. As new coronavirus is a virus, antibiotics that work against bacteria should not be used for prevention or treatment. However, if admitted antibiotics may be used if bacterial co-infection is suspected.

Recommendations to decrease exposure and transmission

1. Frequent washing of hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.

2. Cover mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing with flexed elbows or use a tissue. Discard tissue immediately in a closed dustbin and wash hands.

3. If you have a fever, cough or difficulty in breathing, seek medical care and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.

4. Do not come in close contact with anyone suffering from cough and fever.

5. Avoid traveling if you have a cough and fever.

6. Avoid consumption of raw or uncooked animal products. Wash hands in between handling raw and cooked food. Wear safety gowns, face mask, gloves while handling animal or animal products. Avoid contact with sick animals or spoilt meat.

7. Avoid direct contact with animals in areas having cases of novel coronavirus.

8. Do not spit in public places.

Reference: Coronavirus | WHO Accessed on 7th Feb 2020.
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