As concern spreads globally about the virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, our latest blog posts shares some key facts to know about the virus and how to prevent it.
As concern spreads globally about the virus outbreak in Wuhan, China, our latest blog posts shares some key facts to know about the virus and how to prevent it. Read our blog below and download our handy infographic here for more information.
The virus, currently known 2019-nCoV, is part of the coronavirus family which includes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) as well as the common cold. The virus is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus not previously identified in humans.
The virus originated in a seafood marked in Wuhan, although there have now been a handful of confirmed cases outside of mainland China, including Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, Japan and the US.
Measures are now being taken to prevent further spread of the disease, including screenings and quarantine procedures at airports.
Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, fever and shortness of breath. In more severe cases it can lead to pneumonia and respiratory tract conditions.
To date there have been around 500 confirmed cases and 17 people have died. The virus is believed to be milder than SARS and for most people the symptoms will gradually subside, although you are advised to seek treatment early. They majority of deaths have been amongst the elderly or those with underlying medical conditions who are at heightened risk from respiratory tract diseases.
It has been confirmed that the virus can be transferred by human contact, such as via a handshake. You should therefore take care to avoid people with symptoms, including those with a cough, and you may wish to wear a face mask when in public. You should also avoid touching your eyes and nose wherever possible.
Crucially good personal hygiene and regular hand washing is advised. This means washing your hands thoroughly – 20 seconds is recommended. You may also wish to carry anti-bac gel with you in case you are unable to frequently wash your hands.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced it will not yet declare a "global emergency" over the new virus and is not currently recommending any travel restrictions, although it is monitoring the situation closely.
Young children, the elderly, or those with underlying medical conditions are at a more heightened risk and should take extra precautions.
Don’t panic. Seek medical attention and remember to share your travel history with your health care provider. It is wise to call your doctor in advance of your visit to alert them to your symptoms so they can prepare to treat you and prevent further spread of the virus.