Recent investigation to find the reason behind a number of viral pneumonia-like illnesses in China has led to the discovery of a novel Coronavirus type. The state media reported novel Coronavirus as a potential cause of this disease on Thursday, January 9, 2020.
This report wasn’t immediately confirmed by the health authorities in China. Coronavirus can infect other individuals via direct or indirect contact, such as by sneezing, coughing, or touching an individual who is already infected with the virus.
Among different types of this virus, some can lead to the common cold. In contrast, others have the potential to cause severe respiratory illnesses like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome).
Such types of Coronavirus are commonly present in humans, whereas the more exotic types of this virus resulting in severe illness are present in camels, bats, and some other animals. According to the state broadcaster CCTV, this new type of Coronavirus is distinctive in nature compared to the ones that had been identified previously.
Last weekend, Chinese health authorities ruled out the possibility of SARS and MERS as a potential cause of illnesses. According to the statement provided by Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, 59 individuals from the central Chinese city were receiving treatment for a respiratory infection.
Among these, 7 were reported to be in a critical condition, whereas the condition was stable in the remaining individuals. Xinhua state news stated discharge of eight patients on January 08, 2019, because of the absence of symptoms of pneumonia after several days.
WHO representative – Gauden Galea said that sample from individual suffering with the illness was taken by Chinese researchers to perform viral gene sequencing. The cases of same illness were also identified in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, including Wuhan travellers.
Since the end of last year, thirty-eight people have been identified with fever, or symptoms of pneumonia or respiratory infection after visiting Wuhan in the Hong Kong Public Hospitals. Sophia Chan – health chief of Hong Kong stated that none of the cases related to Wuhan was reported to be serious.
The fact that none of these patients in Hong Kong had gone to Wuhan’s seafood market where infected Chinese people were working may explain this situation. Wuhan’s health commission had informed about the future investigation and suspension of the Seafood market in South China.
The new illness has increased concerns related to the SARS relapse. That was first reported in late 2002 in southern China, later spreading to over 24 countries. At that time, almost eight thousand persons were infected with this disease leading to the death of almost 800 patients.
But no other case of coronavirus associated-SARS has been identified since 2004. Aside from SARS, a type of Coronavirus can also lead to MERS, first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, later affecting many other countries.
The U.S. CDC has released a health alert this Wednesday and suggested that health professionals should take necessary precautions like wearing a mask when treating patients with pneumonia-like illness, especially those who have recently visited Wuhan.
It has also recommended that U.S. residents travelling to Wuhan should frequently wash their hands and avoid contact with animals and infected individuals.