The Wuhan virus, now identified as a coronavirus, could be spreading worldwide, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday (15th January).
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to SARS. It usually causes common-cold symptoms, infecting the nose, sinuses or upper throat, and are spread through sneezing, coughing or direct contact.
It was first found in China where 41 cases of pneumonia – which lab tests showed could be a new type of coronavirus – have been reported. One of the patients has died from the virus.
It was also reported that a Chinese woman in Thailand was quarantined in a hospital on 8th January, which is the first time the virus was detected outside of China. The 61-year-old woman is now recovering from the illness while officials from China and Thailand are trying to determine the source of the infection.
Now, a man from Japan has tested positive for the new coronavirus, which marks the first case in the country, according to Asian Review.
The man had travelled to Wuhan, central China, where the outbreak of the virus began, and returned to Tokyo, Japan on 6th January. He too was hospitalised and discharged within five days after he had recovered.
With the new coronavirus now being spread outside of China, WHO has warned hospitals worldwide that it could spread to even more countries, reported Malay Mail.
Although there is limited human-to-human transmission, the WHO is preparing for the possibility of a wider outbreak.
“It is still early days, we don’t have a clear clinical picture,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, acting head of WHO’s emerging diseases unit.
“From the information that we have it is possible that there is limited human-to-human transmission, potentially among families, but it is very clear right now that we have no sustained human-to-human transmission.”
The UN agency has given guidance to hospitals worldwide about infection control in case the new virus spreads. There is no specific treatment for the new virus, but anti-virals are being considered and could be “re-purposed”, Van Kerkhove said.
With the Influenza A becoming so rampant in Malaysia, we don’t need another virus going around. Stay indoors as much as you can and be extra careful outdoors!
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