The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global health emergency over a new coronavirus that has killed no less than 490 people in mainland China and two more elsewhere following an outbreak in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan.
More than 24,500 cases have been reported worldwide, most of them in China’s Hubei province. A man from Wuhan died within the Philippines on February 2 and Hong Kong reported its first death on February 4.
The infection is now more widespread than the 2002-2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, which additionally originated in China, in terms of affected folks but not deaths.
Here is what you have to know:
Based on the WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the frequent cold to more extreme diseases akin to SARS and Center East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
These viruses have been initially transmitted between animals and people. SARS, as an example, was believed to have been transmitted from civet cats to humans while MERS travelled from a type of camel to humans.
A number of known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that haven’t but infected humans.
The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, that means crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus is paying homage to a solar corona.
A novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7 and named 2019-nCoV, is a new strain that had not been previously recognized in humans.
Little is known about it, though human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
What are the symptoms?
In line with the WHO, signs of an infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more extreme cases, it may well lead to pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure and even death.
The incubation interval of the coronavirus stays unknown. Some sources say it may very well be between 10 and 14 days.
How deadly is it?
Some consultants say it may not be as deadly as different types of coronavirus akin to SARS, which killed nearly 800 folks worldwide, more than 300 in China alone — during a 2002-2003 outbreak that additionally originated in China.
MERS, which didn’t spread as widely, was more deadly, killing one-third of these it infected.
In China, however, the an infection is more widespread than SARS in terms of case numbers.
The place have cases been reported?
Most cases and deaths have been reported in China — the overwhelming majority in Hubei Province.
So far, Hong Kong and the Philippines have reported one death every from the new virus outside of mainland China.
The virus has spread to many nations in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Nearly all of cases outside China are amongst individuals who just lately travelled to the country.
Read more about which international locations have confirmed cases here.
What is being done to stop it from spreading?
Scientists are working on a vaccine but have warned one is unlikely to be available for mass distribution before 2021.
Chinese authorities have effectively sealed off Wuhan, and have placed restrictions on journey to and from several different cities, affecting some 56 million people.
The move was meant to «resolutely contain the momentum of the epidemic spreading» and protect lives, the central city’s special command centre towards the virus said, in line with state broadcaster CCTV.
Many airlines have cancelled flights to China, while some countries have banned Chinese nationals from getting into and have evacuated their citizens from Wuhan.
Where did the virus originate?
Chinese health authorities are still making an attempt to determine the origin of the virus, which they say probably came from a seafood market in Wuhan where wildlife was additionally traded illegally.
The WHO also says an animal supply appears almost certainly to be the first source of the outbreak.
On February 2, officials in Hubei said the virus had a 96 % concordance with an already-known bat-borne coronavirus. Chinese scientists previously mentioned snakes as a attainable source.
Is this a global emergency?
The outbreak constitutes a worldwide health emergency, the WHO has said.
The decision to sound the top-degree alarm was made after the first cases of human-to-human transmission outside China had been confirmed.
The international health alert is a call on countries around the world to coordinate their response underneath the guidance of the United Nations health agency.
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