Coronaviruses are a large, well known family of viruses that cause illnesses that range from the common cold to more severe disease such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The strain of coronavirus that has emerged from Wuhan in China is a new strain that has not previously been identified in humans. It was originally acquired by exposure to animals at the live animal market in Wuhan, but has subsequently been spreading from human to human. As of 7am, February 1st, 10,000 people have been infected with 200 casualties. Elderly, young and immunosuppressed patients are worst affected.
It is thought that the virus is spread through “droplet” transmission, similar to the common cold. This means that you need to ingest viral-infected particles, usually through your mouth, nose or eyes. The most common way to be infected is touching a contaminated surface with your hands before eating or drinking. As such, it is very important that people who have the virus, or people who are beginning to feel unwell, wear a face mask to reduce contamination through sneezing or coughing. Conversely, there is very little benefit to healthy, unaffected people wearing masks. The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to regularly wash your hands with products such as "pharmacy care alcohol-free handwash" and to avoid sick contacts.
The symptoms of coronavirus include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. If you feel like you are coming down with a flu-like illness and could potentially have been in contact with somebody affected, please call 13 Health (13 43 25 84).