What is Coronavirus and How to Avoid it.
Coronaviruses are members of a large genus of viruses, which can cause diseases of varying degrees, ranging from mild colds to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Usually the symptoms are mild to moderate and affect the upper respiratory tract. This strain of coronavirus has not been detected in humans until 2012 and a full genome sequence study of the virus indicates that it belongs to a new type of coronavirus of the genus Betacoronavirus that differs from other known coronaviruses and SARS, ). The WHO, in accordance with the International Health Regulations, alerts all its Member States to the virus and makes recommendations to health authorities. Coronaviruses are ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses that can infect humans and several animal species. In humans, coronaviruses can cause a variety of diseases, from colds to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). There are 5 types of coronavirus dangerous to humans: alpha (229E and NL63), beta (OC43), HKUI1 and SARS-CoV - the latter being more of an animal virus and only rarely affecting humans.
MERS-CoV causes respiratory diseases ranging from mild symptoms to severe pneumonia (pneumonia). Initial signs are non-specific. The clinical picture of acute respiratory disease includes fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, and pneumonia. People with impaired immunity, the elderly and those with chronic conditions (such as diabetes, oncology, chronic lung disease) may have atypical symptoms such as diarrhea. Some patients have experienced organ failure, most commonly kidney failure, or septic shock
Although MERS-CoV infection is similar to SARS, they are not identical. One of the major differences is that SARS, in contrast to MERS-CoV infection, spreads easily between people.
There is no specific treatment for the diseases caused by MERS-CoV - treatment is symptomatic and appropriate patient care can be very effective. More information on treatment can be found in WHO publication - Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infections in case of suspected coronavirus: what to do and not to do.
Prevention and World Health Organization recommendations for travelers
When traveling, it is important to strictly observe hygiene and precautions to help prevent any infectious disease:
- Avoid close contact with persons who have symptoms of illness (including acute respiratory infections);
- Wash hands frequentle, especially after contact with sick person or their surroundings;
- observe food safety and hygiene rules, incl.
- avoid the use of cooked meat, unprocessed fruits and vegetables;
- Do not drink unsafe water.
- Avoid close contact with farm or wildlife
People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should learn to adhere to the "cough etiquette" (stay clear, cover mouth and nose with coughing, sneezing and / or sneezing with disposable napkin or clothing, and wash hands) and refrain from traveling until symptoms disappear.
The source of MERS-CoV and the conditions of human infection are not yet fully understood. A very similar coronavirus has been isolated from monocot camels in Egypt, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and it is believed that humans can become infected through direct and indirect contact with these camels. Other animals such as goats, cows, sheep, buffaloes, pigs, and wild birds have not been detected. Middle Eastern countries affected by MERS-CoV are advised to observe general hygiene measures when visiting farms, markets, sheds, or other areas where animals are present, including regular washing of hands before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals. The use of uncooked animal products, including milk and meat, carries a very high risk of various infectious diseases but is safe for use after cooking or pasteurisation. Care should be taken to avoid heat-treated and unprocessed products coming into contact and being treated on the same surface (eg board). People with diabetes, kidney failure, chronic lung disease and weakened immune systems have a significantly higher risk of developing a serious form of the disease, so they, especially in the Middle East, should avoid contact with camels and use camel milk or meat that has not been properly cooked.