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Coronavirus: what, why and how to protect yourself

It has been declared a global health crisis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but

What is the Coronavirus and why is everyone panicking?

Let’s start with what the Coronavirus is not. Sadly it’s not a light beer to be leisurely sipped in the late afternoon sun. Coronaviruses (CoV) are members of a large family of viruses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronaviruses are zoonotic meaning that they can be transmitted between animals and people. Research found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.  

The current coronavirus has been named 2019-nCoV it is a new strain which until now has not previously been seen in humans.

Common signs of infection include:

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

In more severe cases infection can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

At present symptoms are thought to appear between two and ten days post contracting the virus. There is evidence, yet to be confirmed, that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people – people who carry the virus but are not yet sick.

Declared a global health crisis by the World Health Organisation

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