In December 2019 A few Pneumonia cases emerged in China, when these cases were diagnosed it was found to be caused by a previously unknown Virus which was named 2019 Novel Corona virus.
What Is Corona Virus:
Corona virus are large group of Viruses that have unique structure where the genetic material is contained in an envelope and that envelop has some protein spikes and these Protein spikes give it a resemblance to crown and crown in Latin is Corona, hence its named as Corona virus.
Corona Viruses are generally Associated with respiratory and Gastrointestinal diseases, and usual respiratory disease are common cold and pneumonia which is generally mild. But sometimes severe form of respiratory disease has been reported in them, like SARS-CoV that occurred in China 2003 and MERS-CoV that occurred in Saudi Arabia 2012.
Novel Corona virus appeared in China 2019 in a group of Patients with signs of Pneumonia seemed to have spread from seafood and live animal market in Wuhan (China). Later it spread from these patients to the Family members and other healthcare workers.
There are Many cases that have been diagnosed and suspected in China and it has spread to many other countries now.
ORIGIN OF CORONA VIRUS
Corona viruses circulate in number of animals and sometimes they spill over to humans due to either virus mutation or increase contact of humans with animals. Previous examples show that MERS-CoV spread from camels and SARS-CoV spread from cats. So far exact source of Corona virus is unidentified.
Though we still do not know for certain how it spreads from animals to humans but from humans to humans it spreads through the droplets generated during cough or sneeze of infected patients to other persons or through any substances or surfaces contaminated with these droplets. The groups that are most at risk are live animal market workers and the persons caring for the sick patients like family members and healthcare workers.
Range from Mild symptoms like Fever, Cough and shortness of breath to more severe symptoms like severe pneumonia, kidney failure and Death. So far, the mortality rate for infected cases is not known but most deaths have occurred in patients with previous illnesses.
Diagnosis for Novel corona virus is possible through PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) where genetic fingerprinting of the virus is done.
There is no specific treatment or vaccine available yet and they are in development phases. Supportive and symptomatic care must be administered.
Although there is still a limited geographic spread standard hygiene measures have to be adopted to prevent spread of infection
1. Covering mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing with a cloth, mask or flexed elbow.
2. Avoiding close contact with those that are sick with respiratory symptoms.
3. Wearing mask and other personal protective equipment specially in hospital settings.
4. Washing hands after touching patients or contaminated areas.
5. Avoiding unnecessary contact with animals.
6. Washing hands after any contact with animals or raw animal products.
7. Thorough cooking of food before eating (at least above 60 degrees).
8. Stay home when you feel sick, but if you have fever cough and difficulty in breathing seek medical advice.
Dr. Muhammad Nasim Sabir
Pathologist & Microbiologist
Director Laboratory Medicine
Head of Infection Control