Coronaviruses are the types of viruses which usually affect the respiratory tract of humans and other mammals. They are related to pneumonia, common cold, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which can affect the gut as well. In 1937, a coronavirus was first isolated in birds from an infectious bronchitis virus which has the capability of destroying poultry stocks. Coronaviruses are accountable for 15–30 per cent of common cold cases.
Scientists have found during the last 70 years that coronaviruses can infect rats, mice, cats, dogs, horses, pigs, turkeys, and cattle. In recent times, authorities recognized a coronavirus outbreak in China which has now affected other nations.
This article focuses on the kinds of human coronaviruses, their symptoms and transmission, and two especially hazardous diseases caused by coronaviruses: SARS and MERS.
What Are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses can lead to respiratory symptoms and flu-like symptoms. In the 1960s, human coronaviruses (HCV) were first recognized in the noses of patients having a common cold. Two human coronaviruses are accountable for a huge percentage of common colds 229E and OC43.On the basis of the crown-like projections on their surfaces, coronaviruses were given their name. In Latin “Corona” means “crown.”
In human beings, infection generally takes place during the early spring and winter months. For a person, it is common to be ill with a cold caused by a coronavirus and then catch it once more after around four months. Reason being, coronavirus antibodies last for a very short time. Besides, the antibodies for one strain of coronavirus may be unusable against other strains of coronavirus.
Flu-like symptoms or cold-like symptoms generally begin from two to four days after coronavirus infection. These are usually mild. But, symptoms differ from one person to others, and some forms of the coronavirus can be deadly.
Symptoms are as follows:
- runny nose
- Fever (in rare cases)
- Exacerbated asthma
- Sore throat
In the laboratory, human coronaviruses cannot be cultivated so easily, unlike the rhinovirus, which is an additional cause of the common cold. Because of this, it becomes tough to measure the impact of coronavirus on public health and national economies.
Treatments include over-the-counter (OTC) medication and taking care of yourself, as no cure is available:
- Drink more water.
- Take proper rest and escape overexertion.
- Do not smoke and avoid smoky areas.
- Take acetaminophen, naproxen or ibuprofen to lower fever and pain.
- Make use of a cool-mist vaporizer or clean humidifier.
The virus accountable can be identified by utilizing a sample of respiratory fluids, mucus from the nose, or blood.
Currently, there are seven types of coronavirus that can infect humans. Common types are as follows:
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- HKU1 (beta coronavirus)
Occasional and more hazardous types entail MERS-COV, which leads to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-COV), the coronavirus accountable for SARS. In 2019, an unsafe new strain began spreading; however, it does not have any official name so far. Various health authorities are presently naming it as 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-NCOV).
There has not been so much of investigation on how a human coronavirus transmits from one person to other. But, it is assumed that the viruses spread with the help of secreted fluid of the respiratory system. Following are the ways in which coronaviruses can spread:
- Coughing and sneezing without covering the mouth.
- Touching or shaking hands with those having the virus.
- Making contact with an object or a surface having the virus and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- A coronavirus may occasionally spread through contact with faeces.
People in the United States usually contract a coronavirus in the winter or fall, though the disease is active during the rest of the year. Young people are most prone to contract the disease.People can contract more than one infection during their lifetime. Most people will be infected with one coronavirus in their lifetime at least. It is believed that the mutating capabilities of the coronavirus make it so infectious.
For escaping transmission, ensure staying at home and resting while undergoing symptoms and sidestep contact with other people. While sneezing or coughing, covering the nose and mouth using a handkerchief or tissue can also assist in preventing the spread of a coronavirus. Make sure to discard any used tissues and maintain hygiene around your house.
In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began checking the occurrence of a new coronavirus. Authorities first recognized the virus in Wuhan, China and gave it the name 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-Nov).
In China, over 1,000 people have contracted the disease. Health authorities have recognized many other people with 2019-Nov around the globe, which include five individuals in the U.S. The virus transmitted from one person to another in the U.S on January 31, 2020. The WHO has confirmed public health emergency associated with 2019-now.
Several of the first people having 2019-nCov had connections with an animal and seafood market. Initially, this proposed that animals spread the virus to human beings. But, people with a more recent diagnosis did not have links or exposure to the market, which proposes that human beings can spread the virus to one another.
At present, information on the virus is limited. In the past, respiratory illnesses that arise from coronaviruses, like MERS and SARS, have transmitted via close contacts.Although some viruses are highly infectious, it is not very clear regarding coronaviruses as to how quickly they will get transmitted.
Symptoms differ from one person to others having a 2019-nCov infection. It may have either few or no symptoms, though it can also result in severe illness and maybe deadly. Common symptoms are fever, breathlessness and cough. After infection, it may take a person 2–14 days for teething symptoms.
Currently, no vaccine is accessible for 2019-now. Though, scientists have succeeded in the replication of the virus. This could permit early diagnosis and treatment in those having the virus but are not showing symptoms so far.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was an infectious illness by the SARS-CoV coronavirus. It usually resulted in a life-menacing form of pneumonia.
In November 2002, the virus began in the Guangdong Province in Southern China ultimately reaching Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, it speedily spread around the globe and infected people in 37 countries.
SARS-CoV is unique, which can infect both the lower and upper respiratory tract and can also lead to gastroenteritis.
The symptoms of SARS advance in a week and begin with fever. In beginning, people show flu-like symptoms, like:
- Dry coughing
A severe lung infection, pneumonia, may arise later. SARS leads to failure of the lungs, liver or heart at its most progressive stage. There were 8,098 established cases of SARS with 774 fatalities during the epidemic, which is equal to a mortality rate of 9.6 per cent. In older adults, difficulties were more likely, and half of those infected over the age of 65 years who became ill, died. Eventually, in July 2003, it was brought under control.
MERS is a possibly deadly coronavirus. Caused by the MERS-CoV coronavirus, MERS was first identified in 2012. This severe respiratory ailments first found in Saudi Arabia and, since then, has transmitted to other nations. The virus has grasped the United States, and the largest epidemic outside the Arabian Peninsula took place in South Korea in 2015.
Symptoms are breathlessness, fever, and coughing. The ailment transmits via close contact with those who have been infected already. Although, all cases of MERS are associated with people who have returned lately from travel to the Arabian Peninsula. MERS is lethal in 30 to 40 per cent of those who contract it.