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Coronavirus: 5 things you need to know about the deadly virus spreading across the world

Medical staff carry a box as they walk at the Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan (REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo CHINA OUT)
  • The world pays attention to the spread of a new deadly virus known as Coronavirus.
  • The Coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China and has spread to other Asian countries including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand and the United States.
  • World Health Organisation has called for an emergency meeting in Geneva to discuss how to contain the spread as the death toll reached nine.
  • We look at five things about the potentially dangerous virus
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The world is panicking over the spread of a new deadly virus known as Coronavirus.

In December 2019, the Novel Coronavirus was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread to other Asian countries including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand. The first confirmed case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020, with the possibility of spreading across the world, if not quickly contained.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for an emergency meeting in Geneva on Wednesday (today) to discuss how to contain the spread as the death toll reached nine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to 300 cases have been confirmed in China, including cases outside Wuhan City, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally.

Here are five things you need to know about the virus:

According to the CDC, they are a large group of viruses that are common among animals. In rare cases, they are what scientists call zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted from animals to humans.

On the human-human transmission, a novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are common in many different species of animals, including camels and bats. Rarely, these coronaviruses can evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans.

Symptoms may include:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

“Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults,” CDC said in one of its reports on the virus.

  • Through the air by coughing and sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands with the infected person
  • Touching an object or surface an infected person has touched

According to CDC, the virus can also be transmitted by touching something an infected person has touched and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

  • On rare cases, fecal contamination - contact with infected person's secretions

According to reports, Coronaviruses are notoriously hardy organisms. They hide effectively from the human immune system and no treatments of vaccines yet to eradicate them.

Presently, health officials only attend to the symptoms and not the virus.

With its spread to the Western United States and likely case in Australia, Africa is not isolated from the spread. Moreover, Africa is the second home to Chinese investment and businesses. According to The Economist, an estimated one million Chinese citizens are residing in Africa, and more Africans visit China daily.

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