An outbreak of coronavirus caused hundreds of diseases and 25 deaths (at the time of writing) in China and there are some cases in other countries.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that a patient returning to Washington state from Wuhan, China, was diagnosed with coronavirus.
Doctors explain what you need to know about the infection, its symptoms and what you need to worry about and here we are with all those details.
A case of infection in the United States is currently confirmed.
The CDC found on Tuesday that a patient returning to Washington state from Wuhan, China (where an outbreak of coronavirus) was diagnosed with coronavirus.
This type of coronavirus was originally thought to spread from animals to humans, but “there are more and more signs that there is a limited spread from person to person,” the CDC says. However, the organization adds: “It’s unclear how easily this virus spreads between people.”
Should you worry? This is all you need to know about coronavirus, its symptoms and expert opinion on its potential effects.
What is coronavirus?
According to the CDC, human coronavirus is quite common around the world. There are seven different types, and many of them cause the common cold, says infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adal, MD, a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins Health Safety Center. However, two new types – MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV – can cause severe illness.
Dr. Adal explains that the form of coronavirus that appears in the headlines has been discovered recently. “It is difficult to determine what kind of coronavirus it is and whether it behaves more like SARS, MERS or the common cold virus. A lot of effort is being made to answer this, ”says Dr. Adal.
What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
They are actually very similar to flu symptoms. People with coronavirus can have a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, fever and generally feel bad.
Coronavirus can also cause lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Dr. Adal says that overlapping with flu symptoms “makes it difficult to diagnose coronavirus,” adding that the average person cannot tell the difference between the two. And some people may not have any symptoms at all.
Immunocompromised people, young and old, are most at risk of serious coronavirus complications.
“People can die from coronavirus when they develop complications such as respiratory failure or hypoxia (a condition in which your body does not get enough oxygen), secondary to pneumonia,” says Dr. Adala. Some people have had myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart, he adds.
How is coronavirus treated?
There is currently no special treatment for coronavirus, says William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist, and professor at the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University (DMVU). Instead, doctors treat symptoms and offer supportive care.
How much do you need to worry about coronavirus?
Hundreds of people in China have been infected with coronavirus and hospitalized. But infectious disease experts say you should not panic and be strong to fight with this new disease.
However, people passing through the airport should be strictly checked for the presence of coronavirus. This can help in the early detection of cases and should resolve the issues quickly.