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Coronavirus: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention

As Coronavirus continues to keep the entire world on tenterhooks, countries across the world have geared up to face this challenge, The Coronavirus does not appear any worse than the annual flu.

The key difference is that there is no vaccine available as yet which is spreading fear as in the case of any new outbreak. All indications are that this Coronavirus is milder than its two cousins, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). SARS is a variant of the new Coronavirus.

Coronaviruses, which are rather large single-stranded RNA viruses, are nothing new in human disease. They are, in fact, the most usual one cause of the common cold, so all of us have been infected with who-knows-how-many different coronavirus strains over the years.

Such things are generally in the upper respiratory tract, but some of these viral infections can move on to bronchitis or pneumonia, either primary (viral infection in these areas) or secondary (an opportunistic bacterial infection that develops as a sequel). Humans seem to be more vulnerable to viral infection from other mammals (naturally) and from birds.

How the disease spreads and what the symptoms

The coronavirus (CoV) is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndromes to include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.

In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. The disease manifestation ranges from asymptomatic to severe. Countries around the world have sounded an alert following the confirmation of the first case of human-to-human transmission of the deadly infectious disease.

How are coronaviruses spread?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people, according to the WHO. Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through the air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands.

The viruses can also spread by touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands. In pregnant women, the more severe versions of MERS and SARS coronaviruses can be serious.

The Treatment and Prevention

To date, there is no vaccine to protect against this family of viruses. The standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.

WHO also advises that people should avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

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