Coronaviruses are so named because of the crown-like appearance of their virus particles when seen under an electron microscope (corona, meaning crown). Coronaviruses are a diverse group of viruses that infect and cause disease in humans and other animals, including pigs and chickens. Signs of the virus include coughing, difficulty breathing and high temperatures.
Authorities in China’s Wuhan city have confirmed 45 cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, which is in the same family as the deadly severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), but so far appears to be less lethal. Two people have died, Wuhan authorities say. Chinese officials have linked viral infections to a Wuhan seafood and wildlife market.
Three travellers, two now in Thailand and one in Japan, who visited Wuhan but not the market have been infected with the virus, suggesting human-to-human transmission may be possible and raising concerns of the virus’s further spread.
Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson, a disease outbreak scientist told CNN, “there are many unknowns, meaning the uncertainty range around this estimate goes from 190 cases to over 4,000. But the magnitude of these numbers suggests that substantial human-to-human transmission cannot be ruled out. Heightened surveillance, prompt information sharing and enhanced preparedness are recommended.”
The US centre for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that three US airports will start screening passengers arriving from Wuhan to check for signs of the virus, such as coughing, difficulty breathing and high temperatures with the use of an infrared thermometer. The agency says more than 100 people had been deployed to carry out the screenings at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.
So little is known about Corona Virus and that is why health authorities are calling for vigilance. According to the World Health Organization said Friday, “much remains to be understood about the new coronavirus, which was first identified in China earlier this month. Not enough is known about 2019-nCoV to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, clinical features of the disease, or the extent to which it has spread. The source also remains unknown.”