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Of Coronaviruses and Pandemics
« on: February 01, 2020, 02:34:56 PM »

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2020, 02:36:04 PM »

What is a novel coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans.


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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2020, 02:37:26 PM »

Can humans become infected with a novel coronavirus of animal source?

Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.  As surveillance improves around the world, more coronaviruses are likely to be identified.

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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2020, 02:38:45 PM »

What are the symptoms of someone infected with a coronavirus?

It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2020, 02:40:06 PM »

Can coronaviruses be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, some coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household, workplace, or health care centre.


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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2020, 02:42:02 PM »

Is there a vaccine for a novel coronavirus?

When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed.

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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2020, 02:44:23 PM »

Is there a treatment for a novel coronavirus?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition. Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.

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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2020, 02:45:39 PM »

What can I do to protect myself?

Standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.


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« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2020, 03:17:31 PM »

Are health workers at risk from a novel coronavirus?

Yes, they can be, as health care workers come into contact with patients more often than the general public WHO recommends that health care workers consistently apply appropriate infection prevention and control measures.

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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2020, 03:19:59 PM »

What are the WHO's recommendations for countries?

WHO encourages all countries to enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), to carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases and to notify WHO of any suspected or confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus.

Countries are encouraged to continue strengthening their preparedness for health emergencies in line with the International Health Regulations (2005).

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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2020, 03:31:04 PM »
Where can I find more information about known coronaviruses?

For more information on MERS-CoV:
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-coronavirus-(mers-cov)

For More information on SARS-CoV:
https://www.who.int/csr/sars/en/


-from the World Health Organization Q and A
https://www.who.int/news-room/

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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2020, 03:41:21 PM »

The differences between pandemic, epidemic, and endemic:

pandemic
/panˈdɛmɪk/

adjective
1. (of a disease) prevalent over a whole country or the world.
synonyms: universal, global

noun
1. an outbreak of a pandemic disease

When an epidemic spreads throughout the world.


epidemic
/ɛpɪˈdɛmɪk/

adjective
1. of the nature of an epidemic
synonyms: rife, rampant, widespread

noun
1. a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time
synonyms: outbreak, plague, scourge, infestation

An outbreak of disease that attacks many peoples at about the same time and may spread through one or several communities.


endemic
/ɛnˈdɛmɪk/

adjective
1. (of a disease or condition) regularly found among particular people or in a certain area
2. (of a plant or animal) native and restricted to a certain place

noun
1. an endemic plant or animal

A disease that exists permanently in a particular region or population.


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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2020, 03:50:37 PM »

Is there a possibility for the coronavirus to cause a pandemic?


New coronavirus looks set to cause a pandemic – how do we control it?

HEALTH 29 January 2020
By Debora MacKenzie

Z27530012020 - Of Coronaviruses and Pandemics - Health and Food
The new coronavirus, as imaged by an electron microscope
Zhu et al/NEJM © 2020, Massachusetts Medical Society


The new coronavirus may be about to go global. Speaking at a press conference earlier this week, Gabriel Leung at the University of Hong Kong said that without “substantial, draconian measures limiting population mobility” – even greater than the unprecedented transportation shutdown that China has already imposed – epidemics outside China “may become inevitable”.

Coronavirus facts: Listen to our podcast about the new coronavirus outbreak
It could be too late. Leung and other epidemiologists calculate that there are far more cases in China than doctors have diagnosed, and by next week there may be 200,000. Computer models suggest that, as with flu, Ebola and SARS, travel restrictions may have little impact.

One epidemiologist, however, thinks there may be hope in the variable way the virus is thought to spread, based on its close relatives SARS and MERS.

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« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2020, 03:52:58 PM »

Case numbers underestimated

Officially confirmed cases of the virus climbed to 5974 cases today, in 31 of China’s 33 provinces, up from 291 in three provinces a week ago. But that is likely to be a massive underestimate.

Several research groups have used computer modeling to calculate a factor called the R0, the average number of people who catch the virus from each infected person, at between two and four. Data from clusters of cases also makes it possible to calculate the “generation” time that it takes an infected person to start transmitting the virus at eight days.

But plugging those numbers into standard epidemic models reveals that something doesn’t fit, says David Fisman at the University of Toronto in Canada. “Cases, R0 or generation time have to be wrong,” he says.

He thinks case numbers are too low because it took doctors time to learn to diagnose the disease. He suspects that the explosive rise in cases of recent days is mostly due to improved case finding and diagnosis. Moreover, people with milder symptoms who don’t go to the hospital and get tested may still add to the epidemic by transmitting the virus.

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« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2020, 03:56:07 PM »

Death rate still unknown

Other epidemic modelers suspect that a large number of cases have been missed. Leung told journalists this week that there are probably 25,000 sick and another 19,000 incubating the virus just in Wuhan, the origin of the outbreak. By comparison, MERS has caused only 2499 cases since it emerged in 2012, and SARS sickened 8000 in its global rampage in 2003.

SARS killed 11 percent of cases, and so far the Wuhan virus has killed 2.3 percent, but most people are still in the midst of infection –  96 percent of people with the virus haven’t yet either died or recovered. Leung’s team estimates that the death rate could be as high as 14 percent.

Fisman notes that in several cases one infected person has transmitted the virus to far more than two people – one infected 14, many of them health workers. Such “super-spreader” events are typical of both SARS and MERS, said Neil Ferguson at Imperial College London earlier this week.

“It means scary events happen, with large clusters of cases,” says Fisman. “But these are likely to attract attention and a public health response”, with everyone exposed quarantined.


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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2020, 03:57:37 PM »

Transmission dead ends

By contrast, many cases may not spread. To get an average R0 of under 4, the super-spreaders must be balanced by cases with very low R0. So individual transmissions, which are harder to spot, may also be dead ends for the virus, which hasn’t yet adapted to humans and is mutating slowly.

“Contrast that with something like flu, where everyone is spreading and any case can spark an epidemic,” he says. “Super-spreader events suggest this can be controlled.”

Unfortunately, the only controls we have, until a vaccine is developed, are spotting and quarantining infectious people – and that only works, as it did for SARS if the virus cannot spread before people have symptoms. This week Chinese authorities stated that this virus can do that, but there is little evidence.

Fisman is skeptical. But, he says, “it’s a game-changer if true”.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/



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