The city of Wuhan in China reported a death case of a 61-year-old man pointing the cause towards a new coronavirus. The city has a dozen people that are suffering from the virus. This is happening when a country of hundreds of millions is preparing to travel for the Chinese New Year (CNY).
Around 41 people have been diagnosed with pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus. Out of these, 7 are in severe condition. This outbreak of the virus has brought back dark memories of the SARS virus that had taken the lives of almost 800 people globally. However, there is no evidence that this virus spreads among humans. The people who were initially found with this virus were said to be workers from a market in Wuhan that sells live fish, birds and other animals. The 61-year-old man too who recently died due to the virus was a regular buyer at the market who was already suffering from various ailments like abdominal tumours and chronic liver disease, sources report.
People carrying this virus have very similar symptoms that are associated with the common cold. The health officials have however stated a few common symptoms like high fever, breathing difficulty, and lung lesions which are likely to be linked with the new virus.
As per the media sources, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said that “A total of 739 close contacts, 419 of which are medical staff, have been placed under medical observation and no related cases were found”
The new coronavirus, according to medical experts, is different from human coronavirus species which include the viruses that caused SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that infects both humans as well as animals.
Given the fact that the Chinese passengers are going to make 440 million trips via rail and another 79 million trips via aeroplanes, the government of China has ordered health officials to carry out extensive research about the virus and provide necessary details so that the required precautionary steps can be taken.
The arrival of such new viruses, though scary, isn’t shocking as the world has witnessed other life-threatening viruses like Ebola, and H1N1 as well; viruses for which no definitive cure exists. H1N1 hit the world the most in the year 2009-10 and lead to many deaths as no cure for it was found. Even today, many people catch the virus, out of which some get treated, some don’t. The flu was so widespread that the WHO declared it as a global pandemic. Most common symptoms are fever, chills, cough, running nose, fatigue, diarrhoea, headache and body ache, and vomiting. The virus is originally transmitted from pigs and is contagious.
As for Ebola, it is a deadly virus that causes blood clotting, severe bleeding, immune system damage and organ failure. The chances of death due to Ebola virus are high. This virus spreads through direct contact with the body, body fluids or tissues of animals. If a person comes in contact with someone suffering from Ebola is most likely to catch the virus. The common symptoms are fever, body ache, severe headache, muscle and joint pain, abdominal (stomach) pain, fatigue, and diarrhoea. The vaccine for treating Ebola is still under development.
Other deadly viruses like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, etc. need to be treated well beforehand. Although science has progressed rapidly, we are yet to invent vaccinations and medications that can save millions of lives from such deadly viruses and diseases. Until then, all we can do is try to maintain hygiene and health at an individual level.