About an outbreak of an unknown disease that occurred inHubei Province in central China this winter, not much is known. Doctors suggest that a disease that infected 59 people could be caused by coronavirus, the family of viruses that caused the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. SARS caused panic after spreading to 37 countries and killing more than 750 people. Given the similarity of symptoms of an unknown disease with coronoviruses, the Chinese authorities intend to closely monitor the situation. We tell you what you need to know about a mysterious disease.
Dangerous Coronavirus Family
The coronavirus family includes 37 speciesviruses that are combined into two subfamilies. Coronavirus was first discovered in 1965 in a patient suffering from acute rhinitis. The coronavirus family infects not only humans, but also cats, dogs, pigs, birds and cattle. Coronavirus can cause damage to the nervous and respiratory systems and the gastrointestinal tract. New coronaviruses periodically appear in different regions of the world, several well-known coronaviruses circulate in animals without affecting humans.
According to The Guardian, according to a statementthe Chinese government, the new disease is definitely not SARS. Unlike SARS, the new virus is not easily spread between people, and unlike the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), more commonly known as SARS, with a mortality rate of about 35%, today no one has died. However, experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are seriously concerned. The fact is that during the SARS outbreak in 2002, the virus was not quickly identified and restricted. This allowed him to spread around the world with tourists.
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According to Jeremy Farrar, an expert ontropical diseases, epidemics of both known and unknown diseases today represent one of the greatest health threats in the world. As Farrar told The Guardian, a group of patients with an unusual respiratory infection is a serious cause for concern. Especially when the disease is associated with a food source for animals. This is how viruses jump over the species barrier - as was the case with SARS, MERS, bird flu and Ebola.
What exactly is known about the new disease?
The source of the virus is still unknown, but researchfocused on a market in Wuhan, which sells live animals and seafood. The fact is that the origin of SARS ultimately turned out to be associated with bats that live in a cave in Yunnan province in the Middle Kingdom. One-humped camels are considered the source of MERS today, although it is possible that they were infected by bats. According to a WHO statement dated January 9, the Chinese authorities believe that the disease is not easily transmitted from person to person, but it can cause a serious condition. So, state television channels reported eight patients with respiratory tract disease who were sent home. In this case, seven people are in hospital in serious condition, and the data has not been updated since last weekend.
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A WHO statement also states the needadditional studies that will confirm the causative agent of the infection, as well as clarify the understanding of the clinical picture and epidemiology of the outbreak. Moreover, it is necessary to determine the source, methods of transmission, the degree of infection and the countermeasures taken. Meanwhile, preventative measures were taken in Hong Kong - so people coming from Wuhan are checked for flu-like symptoms of a respiratory illness. Some people were hospitalized, but none of them showed the type of virus pneumonia found in China.
For two weeks in Wuhan was notnew confirmed cases have been reported. Although there is no cause for much concern today, WHO experts recall that much remains to be done by the global health community to prepare for epidemics around the world. Especially given the fact that a vaccine for SARS and MERS has not yet been developed, and climate change is likely to adversely affect the spread of infectious diseases.