Κορωνoϊός – Wuhan Novel Coronavirus (WN-CoV)

Δρ Ρένος Αβράαμ, Γενικός Ιατρός

In this article I will aim to give you some information regarding the Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV).

I am sure that many, if not all of you will have read or watched the news in the last few days about a new virus that is starting to spread and has originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

I would like to give you some more information about what we know so far and how to ensure that you stay safe and when to seek help and advice based on information from Public Health England and the World Health Organisation.

Background

On 31/12/19 the World Health Organisation was informed of a small number of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause which were detected in Wuhan City, China.

About 2 weeks later, on the 12/1/20 it was reported that a novel coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from affected patients and that initial analysis suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak.

Since then, the virus has continued to spread and has infected over 4000 people, most of which are in China and has caused over 100 deaths.

What are coronaviruses?

They are a large family of viruses. They cause a wide range of conditions some of which are more serious than others.

A common less serious condition is the common cold.

More serious conditions include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

A new strain of coronavirus that has never been identified before in humans is referred to as a novel coronavirus.

How is it transmitted?

Coronaviruses are zoonotic. This means they are passed on from animals to humans, however in this case a zoonotic source has not been identified as yet.

Although we are not 100% sure of the way WN-CoV is transmitted, there is evidence that it is now transmitted from human-to-human.

We know from other coronaviruses that they are spread by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions. In addition to respiratory secretions, other coronaviruses have been detected in blood, faeces and urine.

What are the symptoms I need to look out for?

The commonest reported symptoms are:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose

It is important to note that most cases are only mild, however more severe cases have been reported and people have needed to be admitted to intensive care. Sadly some people have also died.

When should I suspect that I may have WN-CoV and what steps should I take

If you have lived or travelled to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days before becoming unwell with the symptoms mentioned above

or

if you have been in contact with someone who has a confirmed diagnosis of WN-CoV in the last 14 days before developing any of the symptoms mentioned above you should contact you general practitioner immediately.

If you have returned from Wuhan and you do not have any symptoms you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 14 days.

If you develop any symptoms you must inform your doctor who will then advise you on the next steps but you must remain at home until then.

It is very important that you avoid contact with others if you are worried you may have the virus in order to prevent any possible spread.

How to prevent the spread of infection in general

As ever, in order to prevent spread of infection, you can help by regularly washing your hands with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing (and washing your hands thereafter), thoroughly cooking meat and eggs and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

If you have any other questions or would like further information and guidance, please contact your doctor at Apostolos Loukas Medical Centre who would be happy to help.

Dr. Renos Avraam

MBBS BSc MRCGP DRCOG

General Practitioner / GHS Personal Physician

Apostolos Loukas Medical Centre

References

https://www.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/health-protection-infectious-diseases
https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#

Read the CV of Dr Renos Avraam.

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