As a precautionary measure in the wake of the outbreak of  a new ‘mysterious’ virus called NOVEL CORONAVIRUS in China, the Union Health Ministry of india has instructed screening of travellers from the neighbouring country China at Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata airports using thermal scanners.

The GoI has also issued a travel advisory asking Indian citizens travelling to and from China to follow certain precautionary measures

The National Institute Of Virology, Pune, and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Laboratory are coordinating testing of samples for the novel coronavirus (nCoV) in the country.

Countries effected by this Coronavirus :

The virus, named Novel Coronavirus/2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), is a new variant of coronaviruses.

The outbreak of this virus in China has infected at least 62 people in the china and claimed two lives so far. All 62 cases were reported in Wuhan, a major city in China’s Hubei Province. 

2019-novel coronavirus infections have also been reported in Thailand (two cases) and Japan (one case) among people returning from Wuhan.

Other countries are also taking precautionary measures

To avoid the risk of infection on January 17, three major airports in the US -> Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco started screening people arriving from Wuhan.

Singapore and Hong Kong have also been screening air passengers from Wuhan

Exact source of this virus :

Scientists in China and elsewhere are brainstorming to find effective measures to identify the virus’ source and its impact.Exact source is still unkown.

According to WHO, the situation is still evolving and preliminary investigations suggest link to the sea-food market.

WHERE DID THE OUTBREAK of 2019-novel coronavirus  START?

On December 8, 2019, a patient in Wuhan city reportedly complained of pneumonia-like symptoms and sought medical help at a local hospital. Within days, many others reported similar problems, prompting health officials to launch an investigation.

On December 31, China informed the WHO’s country office about these pneumonia cases originating from “unknown causes” in Wuhan.

Taking note of the matter and the limited information available, the WHO issued interim guidelines for all countries.

On January 7, 2020; Chinese authorities said they had identified 2019-nCoV as the cause of the pneumonia. However, experts are yet to identify the source of 2019-nCoV i.e. the animal from which it transmitted to humans.

WHAT IS 2019-NOVEL CORONAVIRUS?

The 2019-nCoV is a new strain of cornoviruses and has not been previously seen in humans. Cornoviruses form a large family of viruses and the illness they cause can range from common cold to more severe diseases such as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is caused by a coronavirus that killed 774 of the 8,098 people infected in an outbreak that started in China in 2002. These are zoonotic viruses. It means that they are transmitted between animals and people

The exact source of 2019-nCoV is yet to be identified. Other strains of coronoviruses have previously been seen to be transmitted from civet cats to humans (in the case of SARS-CoV) and from dromedary camels to humans (in the case of MERS-CoV).

These aren’t the only form of coronaviruses. There are many that circulate among animals but have not yet infected humans.

Coronaviruses are a broad family of viruses, but only six (the new one would make it seven) are known to infect people.

The WHO has said that so far there is no clear evidence of any human-to-human transmission of this virus, but health officials in China have cautioned that its possibility cannot be denied completely.

Symptoms observed in people infected by 2019-nCoV:

Though there is not much of information regarding this virus, still WHO has listed the following common symptoms

Fever

Cough

Shortness of breath and breathing difficulties

Pneumonia

Severe acute respiratory syndrome

Kidney failure

Death

Common human coronaviruses

Common human coronaviruses, including types 229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1, usually cause mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time.

Symptoms may include

runny nose

headache

cough

sore throat

fever

a general feeling of being unwell

Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.

Other human coronaviruses

Two other human coronaviruses, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have been known to frequently cause severe symptoms.

MERS symptoms usually include fever, cough, and shortness of breath which often progress to pneumonia. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.

SARS symptoms often included fever, chills, and body aches which usually progressed to pneumonia. 

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