1. What is a coronavirus?
Coronavirus is common, and typically causes mild respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose.SARS which was first identified in 2003 and MERS in 2012, is even more deadly-around 34 percent of people infected with the virus die.
2. What are the symptoms of the new virus?
People who have been diagnosed with the virus tend to have a fever and cough,and some have difficulty breathing.The symptoms appear to set in at some point between two days and two weeks after the person has been exposed to the virus, according to health authorities.
3. Where did the virus come from?
The world health Organization told journalists this week that the agency is still working to pin down the source of the virus.A recent genetic analysis suggests that the virus resembles viruses that infect bats and snakes.Researchers believe that it may have resulted from separate viruses in bats and snakes recombining.This could have happened in the wild,but may also have occurred in the market,where the animals have been kept in close proximity to each other.
4. Where has the virus spread to so far?
Most of the confirmed cases have been in Wuhan,where at least 444 people are known to have been diagnosed with the virus.But many more cases have been confirmed in China,including in Beijing,Shanghai and Guangdong.In total,there are more than 600 confirmed cases in China alone.
5. How deadly is it?
So far,17 deaths have been linked to the virus,which suggests a low fatality rate of around 4 percent."Most people feel this is somewhere on a spectrum between a relatively mild infection and SARS,which had a very high case-fatality rate,"says Mark Woolhouse at the university of Edinburgh,UK.Again it is too soon to be sure.There are concerns that the virus could mutate and become more dangerous.