Author: NIHT Media
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral disease of humans caused by a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). An outbreak of the disease first occurred in early December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
The China Health Authority alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) of an unknown respiratory illness in patients. On 7 January 2020 the virus (later named SARS-CoV-2) which caused the disease, was identified from the throat swab sample of a patient. On the 11 March 2020 the WHO declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. To date countries are actively fighting to control this pandemic.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is a member of the family of viruses known as Coronaviridae. It is a Betacoronavirus that belongs in a group together with two other highly pathogenic viruses, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome human coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped and positive-sense single-stranded RNA (+ssRNA) virus.
COVID-19 is a mild to severe respiratory illness that causes flu-like symptoms such as dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, chest pain or fever. The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is still not fully understood. Reported illnesses have ranged from infected people with little to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying. People can catch COVID-19 from others who have been infected with the virus. This happens when an infected person sneezes or coughs, sending tiny droplets into the air. These can land in the nose, mouth, or eyes of someone nearby, or be breathed in. People also can get infected if they touch an infected droplet on a surface and then touch their own nose, mouth, or eyes.
Currently there is no cure, treatment or vaccine for the disease. Treatment of infected patients involves symptomatic care. This care includes isolation and supportive care including oxygen for patients with shortness of breath, fluid management, treating the fever and antibiotics treatment for any secondary bacterial infections. Many researchers are investigating new drugs and vaccines for treatment and prevention of the disease. This may take a while before they are proven to be safe and effective and before they can be made available to the public.
The best way to protect yourself from the disease and to prevent it from spreading is to avoid contact with those who are sick with COVID-19. When visiting infected areas or public spaces, wash hands often with soap and water or a hand sanitiser and avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. Maintain a distance between you and other individuals (at least 1 meter) in places of gathering. Avoid other people, especially those who are sick, and busy places until the outbreak is under control.
Remember, COVID-19 can spread before a person has symptoms and even when someone has no symptoms. Cough into a flexed elbow, or cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away. If you need to go out wear a cloth face masks. Use a household cleaner or wipe to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch a lot.
First Published: 11/05/2020