Coronavirus: What do we know?

1 Mar 2020
virus under a microscope

Coronavirus is a zoonotic illness which means it started in animals and then spilt over to humans. In the same way as previous swine flu, avian flu, MERS and SARS virus.  It is spread by water droplets from coughs and sneezes.  They are called corona viruses, because under the microscope the virus is crown shaped: and corona is Latin for crown.  We are not currently sure which animal is responsible for transmitting the disease. Therefore it’s important to cook food thoroughly and to avoid cross contamination of raw foods, meats, fish and dairy.

How infectious is it?

Although China has seen many deaths from the virus, outside of China the rate is very low. The virus has spread to a number of Countries and authorities are working hard to contain it. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 have recovered. It’s reported that those who have died outside of China, had pre existing medical conditions which contributed to their deaths.

Whilst the virus has spread to Europe, with outbreaks in Northern Italy. WHO (World Health Organisation) have not, as yet, declared it a pandemic. There are a number of protocols in place to limit the spread: such as self isolation, and compulsory lock down. It is important to not spread fear, please remember the majority do recover.

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

The symptoms are very similar to other flu viruses. You may have these symptoms but not have the virus.

How can I reduce the risks of catching it?

These infection control tips will help to reduce the spread. This works on not only Coronavirus but the majority of flu type illnesses. 

What shall I do if I think I have it?

If you believe you may have coronvirus do not go to hospital or GP. This is vital to avoid the spread. Instead self quarantine and call 111 for medical help. They will conduct a telephone assessment. You can then follow the advice given by the 111 staff.

Call 111 immediately if you have recently traveled to Wuhan or Hubei in China. You should do this even if you have no symptoms. If you have symptoms (even mild) but have traveled to Asia in the last 14 days, call 111.

Furthermore, seek advice from 111 if you have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed case.

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