MISHAWAKA – On Dec. 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the first case of the Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The disease has since spread around the world, with confirmed cases in Europe, Australia, Africa and North America. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the first U.S. case of the virus was on Jan. 15. The patient contracted the virus during a trip to Wuhan and returned home to Washington; the patient has been treated.
On Feb. 11, the WHO reported the virus has infected more than 43,000 people worldwide; with a death toll of 1,018. Of these confirmed cases, 15 have been confirmed in the U.S. On Jan. 31, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the Coronavirus a public health emergency in the U.S. There have been no confirmed cases in Indiana.
The WHO has investigated the zoonotic component of this disease and has identified over 500 variations of the coronavirus in bats. It remains unclear how the virus originally transferred to humans. According to the WHO, in China, bats are rarely sold in marketplaces, however, they are hunted and sold directly to restaurants for food.
The Novel Coronavirus is an upper respiratory illness. According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of the coronavirus are fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Additional symptoms may include runny nose, headache, sore throat and a general feeling of being unwell.
According to Daniel Amen, M.D., director of Amen Clinics, coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause infection in the nose, sinuses and throat. These viruses can cause mild illnesses like the common cold; however, they can also cause more severe illness which can lead to pneumonia and early death. He recommends that to lower your risk of getting ill, you should lower your stress and eat immune boosting foods.
The CDC and WHO recommends washing your hands frequently and avoiding close contact with those suffering from acute respiratory infections. Those suffering with acute respiratory infection should stay home when sick and maintain distance from others when coughing or sneezing, as well as cover their mouths with disposable tissue or clothing, and wash their hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs.