The deadly 2019-nCoV (corona virus) outbreak originated in Wuhan City, China and has spread to several cities across the globe. The new dangerous strain does not have an official name yet, so it’s called 2019 Novel Corona Virus (2019 n CoV).

Corona viruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses. These viruses can cause diseases like MERS CoV which means Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, SARS CoV which means Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome .The novel corona virus or nCoV is new to human body. “Corona” means “crown”, thus due to the crown like projections on the surface the name Corona virus came into being.

The facts:

  • There is no cure for the new virus.
  • Corona virus is contagious due to its mutating abilities
  • The Corona virus causes SARS and MERS
  • There are seven human corona viruses that are known
  • The virus spread from China, Wuhan city killing 774 people till date according to WHO.

 Corona viruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans and causes diseases like rabies, anthrax etc.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Though corona viruses were found in animals they were yet to infect humans. Human corona viruses (HCoV) were first found in 1960s in the noses of patients with the common cold. Winter and the spring are the seasons when infection may occur in human beings.

 Novel corona virus, or nCoV, is a type of virus that causes respiratory illness and may lead to inflammation and the buildup of mucus and fluids in the airway of the lungs. The 2019-nCoV (corona virus) outbreak originated in Wuhan City. The World Health Organization has confirmed human to human transmission of the virus .though the mode of transmission is yet unknown; it is believed that the viruses transmit due to fluid secretion from the respiratory system.

Signs and Symptoms of corona virus

Cold or flu like mild symptoms can be seen after 2 to 14 days of infection but it may be fatal in some cases.

The clinical symptoms may include:

  • runny nose
  • sneeze
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • difficulty in breathing
  • asthmatic symptom
  • fever

How it is spread:

  • Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth, this can spread droplets into the air, spreading the virus and breathing in the same air.
  • Coming in contact with a virus infected person
  • Touching something that was exposed to the virus and then touching nose, eyes, or mouth.
  • Being around animals that carry the virus.
  • Eating uncooked or undercooked meat or animal products that contain the virus.
  • Travel in an area with novel corona virus outbreak
  • Taking care of a virus infected person

The diagnosis:

As it is not easy to make or cultivate human corona viruses in the laboratory thus it becomes difficult to diagnose the disease.

The lab test may include:

  • sample of respiratory fluids, such as mucus from the nose
  • nasal swab taken from nose
  • throat swab taken from throat
  • mucus from lungs
  • blood test with limited value

The treatment:

There is no cure and vaccine for 2019 nCoV.

  • Take adequate rest and stay at home.
  • Drink enough water or fluid
  • Avoid smoking and cover nose and mouth while caring for sick
  • Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and fever.
  • Use a clean humidifier or cool mist vaporizer to keep the air moist.
  • Use OTC (over the counter prescription) only if told by health care provider.

The Prevention:

Though there is no vaccine to prevent this disease we can protect ourselves by taking the following steps: 

  • Avoid travelling to novel corona virus affected areas. Take precautions to avoid infection.
  • Stay away from infected people.
  • Stay away from places where there are animals that may carry the virus. Both living and dead animals are the carriers.
  • Avoid eating meat or fish in corona virus outbreak areas.
  • Avoid eating undercooked fish or meat.
  • Often wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, face, eyes or nose.
  • Disinfect doorknobs, handles, switches, telephones, computers, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for making the use of facemask.
    • CDC does not advise that healthy people put on a facemask to save themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • People who are ill should use facemasks to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
    • The health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility) should also use a facemask.

Protecting others:

It is advisable to be at home when they are sick and especially in case of any respiratory illness.

If you have returned from China, or any corona virus affected areas you must

  • Stay in home isolation for 14 days
  • Leave your house for medical test or care only
  • Avoid travelling
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer and wash hands with soap and water frequently
  • Avoid close contact with family members
  • While coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw the tissue away after use. In case, the tissue isn’t available, sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands.

In ASPAM Scottish School, one of the reputed Schools in Noida, awareness related to corona virus outbreak and the preventive measures are discussed time to time. Students along with parents are advised through workshops on how to take care of their children and spread awareness and take steps to protect the school children as well as the society they are living in. 

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