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Kerala Declares Coronavirus A State Calamity, Here Are Five Things To Know About The Outbreak

On December 31, 2019, Wuhan, a city in China reported the first case of Novel Coronavirus and since then over 25,000 cases and 490 deaths have been confirmed in China

Kerala Declares Coronavirus A State Calamity, Here Are Five Things To Know About The Outbreak

New Delhi: Wuhan, a city in China reported the first case of the Novel Coronavirus on December 31, 2019. Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in Wuhan, around 25,000 cases and 490 deaths have been confirmed in China. The viral disease has reached India with Kerala reporting three confirmed cases of Coronavirus, prompting the state to declare it a ‘state calamity’. The outbreak has now spread to more than 20 nations including Russia and Britain and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the crisis a global health emergency.

As the countries gear up to protect their citizens and health experts roll out precautionary measures and advisories, here are 5 things to know about Coronavirus:

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a family of viruses which have been detected since the 1960s and in fact, there have been two major outbreaks of the scary Coronavirus that is the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), says Dr Monica Mahajan, Director, Internal Medicine at Max Health.

There are different strains of Coronavirus that have varied impact. What we have right now is the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), a new strain of Coronavirus which was detected only after the outbreak was reported in China’s Wuhan.

There is no clarity on the origin of the novel Coronavirus. While some are saying that it came from an animal source, others are saying it is from a lab strain being researched on. There are different theories around the source of a new strain of Coronavirus, says Dr Neeraj Jain, Chairman of Chest Medicine at Ganga Ram Hospital.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: Experts Address Myths Vs Facts About The Disease

Coronavirus is a zoonotic virus which transmits from animals to human beings. According to Dr Monica, for the novel Coronavirus, the theory that has been postulated is that probably the virus got transmitted from bats to snakes and when people visited the vet market for sea food, the virus got transmitted to human beings and then from humans to humans.

Symptoms of Coronavirus

Experts believe that symptoms of Novel Coronavirus are similar to that of any other flu. Symptoms can range from a simple cold, running nose, cough, body ache to fever.

f you are otherwise healthy and get these symptoms, take proper rest, allow your body to recover and the virus may pass off without you even knowing you had Coronavirus infection. But if you get breathlessness, or if the body temperature shoots up, or if you get lung shadows in the X-ray then it can be an indicator of a serious illness, says Dr Neeraj.

Also Read: How To Prevent The Spread Of Novel Corona Virus

Dangers of Coronavirus

Though Dr Neeraj believes that as of now there is no need to panic; just simple hygiene precautions and proper rest will do the job. But novel Coronavirus can be fatal if it enters into the lungs, lower respiratory tract, or upper respiratory tract and can lead to pneumonia and severe breathing difficultly called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

This particular Coronavirus strain has a propensity to affect the lungs in a very severe way and cause ARDS, a condition in which organs are deprived of oxygen. This can further lead to an individual being on a ventilator and can even prove to be fatal. But this happens in a very few cases, to say, 2-3 per cent of the cases, says Dr Neeraj.

Also Read: Coronavirus In India: Medical Expert Exclusively Speaks With NDTV About Staying Safe Amidst The Coronavirus Outbreak

The Vulnerable Group

Elderly, people with low immunity, pre-existing medical conditions like chronic lung disease, severe uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease and people who are on immune suppressants for whatever reason and whose immunity is low because of treatment or disease are at a higher risk of developing Coronavirus infection.

Precautionary Measures

While the government is taking measures like creating isolation centres to protect masses from the attack of Coronavirus, an individual needs to remember three basic things to shield oneself from the Coronavirus, as suggested by Dr Monica.

1. Hand hygiene: Remember to wash your hands with soap for atleast 20 seconds.
2. Cough Etiquettes: While coughing use handkerchief or tissue so that you don’t cough on another person’s face and transmit the virus.
3. Self-reporting: If you have flu like symptoms, report to your doctor so that he can examine you.

Along with this, avoid travel to high risk areas and unnecessary exposure to places where people have been coughing and there is inadequate ventilation.

Just stay hydrated and resort to regular barrier precautions so that neither do you transfer infection nor catch one. Do not panic; every fever, cold is not going to be a Coronavirus infection. If you get the symptoms, contact your physician, rule out other causes of infection and then go for special tests. Also, if you have been exposed to high risk area or have been in close contact with somebody who has already been diagnosed with the Coronavirus infection, you can undergo the test, signs off Dr Neeraj.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘We Have Enough Labs In The Country To Detect The Virus,’ Says AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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