Disease Background of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Coronaviruses were identified in the mid-1960s and are known to infect humans and a variety of animals (including birds and mammals). Since 2002, two coronaviruses infecting animals have evolved and caused outbreaks in humans: SARS-CoV (2002, Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus), and MERS-CoV (2012, Betacoronavirus, subgenus Merbecovirus)
In 2002–2003, SARS-CoV affected 8 096 people, causing severe pulmonary infections and 774 deaths (case fatality ratio: 10%). Bats were the likely origin of the virus, which spread further to Himalayan palm civets, Chinese ferret badgers and raccoon dogs sold for food at the wet markets of Guangdong, China. MERS-CoV was identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and since then the majority of human cases have been reported from the Arabian Peninsula. Human-to-human- transmission, particularly in healthcare settings, has been the main route of transmission. However, dromedary camels are important animal reservoirs of the virus. The case fatality ratio of MERS-CoV infections is estimated at 35%.
In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was first isolated from three patients with pneumonia, connected to the cluster of acute respiratory illness cases from Wuhan, China. Genetic analysis revealed that it is closely related to SARS-CoV and genetically clusters within the genus Betacoronavirus, forming a distinct clade in lineage B of the subgenus Sarbecovirus together with two bat-derived SARS-like strains. The origin of the virus is not clear yet. Similar to SARS-CoV, a recent study confirmed that Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE 2), a membrane exopeptidase, is the receptor used by 2019-nCoV for entry into the human cells.
What is COVID-19? What is SARS-CoV-2?
The 2019 novel coronavirus is now named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) while the disease associated with it is referred to as COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2, was identified in China at the end of 2019 and is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.
Where Do Coronaviruses Come From?
Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals but some of them are also known to affect humans. After they have infected animals, they can eventually be transmitted to humans.
A wide range of animals is known to be the source of coronaviruses. For instance, the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) originated from camels and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) originated from civet cats.
What Is The Mode Of Transmission? How (Easily) Does It Spread?
While animals are the source of the virus, this virus is now spreading from one person to another (human-to-human transmission). There is currently not enough epidemiological information to determine how easily and sustainably this virus spreads between people. The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale.
The incubation period for COVID-19 (i.e. the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated at between two and 14 days. At this stage, we know that the virus can be transmitted when those infected show (flu-like) symptoms. However, there are still uncertainties as to whether mild or asymptomatic cases can transmit the virus.
If people with COVID-19 are tested and diagnosed in a timely manner and rigorous infection control measures are applied, the likelihood of sustained human-to-human transmission in community settings in the EU is low. Systematic implementation of infection prevention and control measures were effective in controlling SARS and MERS Coronaviruses.
How Many People Have Been Affected So Far?
COVID-19 is rapidly developing into a global health crisis and its impact on China, in particular, is heartbreaking.
As of 25 February, the outbreak has affected 80,000 people globally. In mainland China there have been 2,663 deaths among 77,658 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei. More than 12,000 people affected in China have already recovered.
The coronavirus has spread to at least other 30 other countries. The most badly affected include Japan, with 850 cases, including 691 from a cruise ship docked in Yokohama, and four deaths. Italy has recorded 229 cases and seven deaths, while South Korea has recorded 893 cases and eight deaths. There have also been deaths in Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Iran and the Philippines.
Nigeria Confirms First Coronavirus Case In Sub-Saharan Africa
The first case of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was confirmed in Lagos, Nigeria on the 27th of February 2020.
The case is an Italian citizen who entered Nigeria on the 25th of Feburary from Milan, Italy for a brief business visit. He fell ill on the 26th February and was transfered to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. COVID-19 infection was confirmed by the Virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
Prior to the case in Nigeria, just two cases had surfaced across all of Africa — in Egypt and in Algeria — a tally that had puzzled health specialists, given the continent’s close economic ties with China.
The Federal Ministry of Health has confirmed a coronavirus(Covid-19) case in Lagos State Nigeria. The case which was confirmed on 27/02/2020 is the first case to be reported in Nigeria since the beginning of the outbreak in China in January 2020 @WHO @BBCWorld #CoronaVirusUpdates pic.twitter.com/uF79NYzvAz— Federal Ministry of Health, NIGERIA (@Fmohnigeria) February 27, 2020
You Can Help Stop COVID-19 By Knowing The Signs And Symptoms:
- difficulty breathing
- pain in the muscles
More serious cases develop severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis and septic shock that can lead to the death of the patient. People with existing chronic conditions seem to be more vulnerable to severe illness.
Seek medical advice if you have traveled to China in the past 14 days and feel sick. Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
There are simple things you can do to help keep yourself and others healthy.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.