China has been fighting for more than a month against the outbreak of pneumonia-like diseases, first discovered in the central city of Wuhan in December 201
The disease was first reported to the World Health Organization on New Year's Eve and in the intervening month" the same family responsible for SARS and airways in the Middle East syndrome, as well as some cases of colds.
A special WHO committee declared anof international importance on January 30, citing "the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems." Human-to-human transfer has been confirmed outside of China, including in the US, leading authorities around the world are starting to limit travel and enforce quarantine to protect themselves from spreading.
On January 31, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azarand quoted the intention of the nation to protect the outbreak and respond to it, noting that " the risk for Americans remains low ". As part of the reaction, foreign nationals who have been to China are being denied entry to the US. From 2 February, US citizens who have visited the Hubei province, where the outbreak began, will be quarantined for up to 14 days, while those traveling through other regions in China will be followed and will have to be quarantined themselves.
Japan and Australia followed. As three new cases were announced on January 31, Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, announced that traveling from mainland China would be denied entry to the country from February 1. Shinzo Abe, Japanese prime minister, said that anyone who had visited Hubei province in the last 14 days would be denied entry.
The first international death was registered on Saturday according to the WHO. A 44-year-old man, who was a resident of Wuhan, died on February 1.
The situation is evolving rapidly. We have collected everything we know about the new virus, what the future offers researchers and some steps you can take to reduce your risk.
What is a corona virus?
Coronaviruses belong to a family known as Coronaviridae and under an electron microscope they look like pointed rings. They are named after these spikes, which form a halo or crown around their viral envelope.
Coronaviruses contain a strand of RNA in the envelope and cannot propagate as a virus without getting into living cells and hijacking their machines. The spikes on the viral envelope help coronaviruses bind to cells, giving them a way to come in, like opening the door with C4. Once inside, they turn the cell into a virus factory, using the molecular conveyor to produce more viruses, which are then sent from the cell. The virus progeny infects other cells and the cycle starts again. Typically, these types of viruses are found in animals ranging from livestock and pets to animals in the wild, such as bats. When they make the leap to humans, they can cause fever, respiratory diseases and inflammation in the lungs. In people who are immunocompromised, such as the elderly or people with HIV / AIDS, such viruses can cause serious respiratory diseases, leading to pneumonia and even death.
Extremely pathogenic coronaviruses were behind SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome) outbreaks in the last two decades. These viruses were easily transmitted from person to person. SARS, which emerged in the early 2000s, infected more than 8,000 people and resulted in nearly 800 deaths. MERS, which appeared in early 2010, infected nearly 2,500 people and led to more than 850 deaths.
Where did the virus come from?
The virus appears to have originated in Wuhan, a Chinese city about 650 miles south of Beijing with a population of more than 11 million people. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which sells fish, as well as a range of meat from other animals, including bats and snakes, was involved in the spread at the beginning of January.
Prestigious medical journal The Lancet published a comprehensive summary of the clinical characteristics of patients infected with the disease dating back to December 1, 2019. The very first identified patient was not exposed to the market, suggesting that the virus perhaps came from somewhere else and was transported to the market, where it was able to thrive.
Chinese authorities closed the fish market on January 1.
Markets are involved in the origin and spread of viral diseases in previous epidemics, including SARS and MERS. A large majority of people who have so far confirmed that the new corona virus has come down have been at the Huanan Seafood marketplace in recent weeks. The market seems to be an integral part of the puzzle, but researchers continue to test and investigate the original cause.
An early report, published in the Journal of Medical Virology on January 22, suggested that snakes were the most likely animal reservoir for wildlife before 2019-nCoV, but the work was solidly refuted by two further studies just one day later , on Jan 23.