What is Novel coronavirus?
A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The 2019 Novel coronavirus strain (2019-nCoV) was first identified in a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China.
How is novel coronavirus transmitted?
The modes of transmission of the 2019-nCoV are currently unknown, however could be similar to other coronaviruses which are transmitted in general through:
• Direct transmission through airborne droplets generated from a sick patient during coughing and sneezing
• Indirect transmission through contact with contaminated surfaces and subsequent contact with an individual’s mouth, nose or eyes.
What are the signs and symptoms?
It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
How can I protect myself?
• Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
• When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
• Avoid touching your eyes, ears or mouth with your hand
• Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
• The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.
• If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
Is there a treatment?
Currently, there is no known treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. Intensive supportive care with the treatment of symptoms is the main approach to manage the infection in people.
When to suspect illness with Novel Coronavirus?
If a person develops respiratory symptoms and;
• Had travelled from China in the 14 days prior to developing symptoms.
• Had come into close contact with an individual with laboratory confirmed diagnosis of 2019-nCoV.
Health tips for travellers to countries where the disease has occurred:
1. Avoid contact with patients with respiratory symptoms.
2. Avoid contact with animals (live or dead), eating animal products, or visiting animal and seafood markets.
3. Maintain hand wash continuously, especially if the person in contact with animals or seafood or in contact with patients with respiratory symptoms.
4. Wearing a protective mask when in contact with suspected case.
5. Maintain healthy habits that increase the body’s immunity, such as healthy food, exercise, enough rest and sleep and avoiding stress.
6. When respiratory symptoms appear during travel, the following should be taken into consideration:
a. Stay at home and avoid contact with others.
b. Request health care, at the nearest health center immediately, giving them complete information about travel and contact with infected animals or individuals, if any
c. Avoid traveling when there are respiratory symptoms.
d. Cover the mouth and nose with tissues while coughing or sneezing
e. Don’t touch the nose, mouth, or eye after shaking hands or after touching any contaminated surface