A new coronavirus was discovered in January 2020, and new knowledge is constantly accumulating.
Previously, an unknown coronavirus caused a constant outbreak of respiratory infection. The outbreak began in the capital city of Wuhan in early December last year, and on January 7 this year, the Chinese authorities found the virus.
The new virus is coronavirus and gradually got the name SARS-CoV-2, which can cause respiratory infection in people. In many cases, it has caused only mild diseases, but serious illness and death have also been reported.
The outbreak began in the millionth city of Wuhan in Hubei Province in central China. The infection was originally linked to the city's large food market, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, seafood and various kinds of live animals, which may indicate that the infection was originally from animals.
The disease is contagious between humans, and the infection has been noticed by health professionals and other close contacts. An increasing number of cases have been reported from other parts of China and other countries, including Europe.
The new coronavirus is a previously unknown virus, but has certain genetic similarities to the SARS virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which also belongs to the coronavirus family. The virus causing respiratory syndrome in the Middle East (MERS) is another coronavirus.
It is thought to be a droplet and contact infection, as is the case with other coronaviruses.
The coronavirus family includes many different viruses that can cause respiratory infection. Many coronaviruses only cause a cold, while others can cause more serious illness and in some cases cause death. Coronavirus has also been found in animals. In rare cases, such coronaviruses can develop to infect humans and people, as was observed during the SARS epidemic in 2002. The infection is likely to have come from bats through cats and other animals. Dromaders and camels are the source of infection for MERS disease, which was detected in 2012.
The disease is infected with both colds and flu, transmitting viruses from the respiratory tract to the patient in three ways:
There is no safe information about the incubation time (from the date of infection to the disease gives symptoms). WHO estimates that the incubation period is 5-6 days, but may vary from 0 to 14 days.
The new coronavirus leads to an infection of the respiratory tract and can cause anything from mild symptoms to more serious diseases. The fever has been noted as a common symptom of infection. Sore throat was reported in people with mild disease. Some have been diagnosed with pneumonia with difficulty breathing and/or coughing, possibly with X-ray pneumonia. Severe pulmonary failure and fatal cases have occurred. Information on risk factors in patients is currently limited, but serious illness and death are more likely to occur in older persons and people with related illnesses.
There is no special treatment for this disease.
Pregnant women may be at increased risk of a more serious course of certain viral infections if they are infected, such as influenza. We do not yet know if this also applies to Covid-19.
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause anything from common colds to serious diseases such as SARS and MERS. Of the previously known coronaviruses, SARS-CoV-2 is most similar to the SARS virus that caused the 2003 outbreak. However, SARS caused a more serious disease than the covid-19. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, some pregnant women were suspected of having more serious illnesses and early exposure could lead to spontaneous abortion, but SARS infection has not been shown to cause congenital defects.
Most infected people are likely to have respiratory symptoms that will pass by themselves, while some will have more serious illnesses, including pneumonia. With the knowledge we have, it seems that older people (> 65 years) and people with chronic disease are at greatest risk of serious progression of covid-19 infection. We do not currently know of other risk groups. The proportion of children with infection has so far been low.
Tips for preventing infection with new coronavirus are the same as for other infectious diseases, such as good hand hygiene and preventing unnecessary contact with people with respiratory disease symptoms.
The newly discovered coronavirus epidemic has spread to about thirty countries, including several European countries. Some countries are now locally infected; this is no longer just an epidemic in China.