Coronavirus - A Mysterious Virus Outbreak in China - Seeker's Thoughts

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Coronavirus - A Mysterious Virus Outbreak in China

Chinese scientists have identified an unknown type of coronavirus as the cause of a recent pneumonia outbreak in the city of Wuhan.
According to the state media, thousands of cases of pneumonia have been reported, hundred of the patients have died.

In December 2019, China informed the World Health Organization about the cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause. Chinese public health officials began carrying out environmental assessments at the wholesale market and trying to identify the microbe causing the outbreak.

How was the virus detected as coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, Chinese researchers have made a preliminary determination in January 2020, of the virus as novel coronavirus in a person with pneumonia. 

The researchers were about to determine the virus by sequencing the genome of the novel virus using an isolate taken from an infected patient.

Preliminary identification of the novel virus in a short period of time is a notable achievement and demonstrates China’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks.

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Infection can be linked to the local seafood market

As per china state media, some of the people, who fell ill between December 12 and 29 – 2019, are sellers from the local wholesale seafood market. That market has since been shut down for cleaning and disinfection according to the U.S Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC advises that travelers to Wuhan, China should avoid living or dead animals, animals markets, and contact with sick people.
There is a particular area of china at a seafood market, and at this point, it appears that transmission is from animal to human.

Yet there is no confirmation of human to human transmission, so that why the CDC has reported warning that tourists or travelers there avoid these types of exotic food markets, where they are selling seafood and exotic meat.

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus was first identified in the 1960s, but the origin of this virus is still unknown. They get their name from their crown-like shape. Sometimes, but not often coronavirus can infect both animals and humans.

Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.

Almost everyone gets coronavirus infections at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. In the United States, coronavirus is more common in the fall and winter, but anyone can come down with a coronavirus infection at any time.


The symptoms of the most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever.

In most cases, it is difficult to detect whether someone has a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

Coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (windpipe and lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with the disease, or people with a weakened immune system.

How did the virus spread around the world previously?

Most of the coronaviruses are not dangerous. Some types of them are serious, though. More than 475 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe. 

In April 2014, the first American was hospitalized for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida. Both had just returned from Saudi Arabia.

In May 2015, there was an outbreak of MERS in Korea which was the largest outbreak outside of the Arabian Peninsula. People also died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. 

As of 2015, there were no further reports of cases of SARS. Both MERS and SARS are a type of coronaviruses.

Is it treatable?

There is no vaccine for coronavirus. To help prevent coronavirus infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold.

-       Washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

-       Keep the hands and fingers away from the eyes, nose, and mouth.

-       Avoid close contact with people who are infected.

-       Get plenty of rest.

-       Drink fluids

-       Take over-the-counter medicine for sore throat and fever (but don’t give aspirin to children or teens younger than 19; use ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead.

-       A humidifier or steamy shower can also help ease a sore and scratchy throat.

Even when coronavirus causes MERS or SARS in other countries, the kind of coronavirus infection common in the U.S isn’t a serious threat for an otherwise healthy adult. If someone gets sick, immediate treatment is required.

United Agency Guidelines

The U.N agency has given guidance to hospitals worldwide about infection control in case the new virus spreads. There is no specific treatment for the new virus, but anti-viral are being considered and could be “re-purposed”.

What are measures Chinese authorities are taking to prevent the outbreak?

According to a translated report from the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission: “Experts advise that the city is currently in the season of high incidence of infectious diseases in winter and spring. Citizens should pay attention to maintaining indoor air circulation, avoiding closed and airless public places and crowded places, and wear masks if necessary.”

The report also states, “As of now, preliminary investigations have shown no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infections.”

However, Dr. Sud said it’s very early in the investigation for the outbreak in China.

“It seems to be a coronavirus, but it requires more time for fully understanding it,” Sud said. “Any infection anywhere in the world is always a risk for every country because international travel has become so easy now.”

This is why early detection and quarantine are essential measures in halting the spread of these infections.

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