Emerging information on the Coronavirus

Emerging information on the Coronavirus

On Thursday 30th January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the Wuhan Coronavirus a global health emergency.This definition is used to describe serious unusual,or unexpected health events.  Only 5 such emergencies have been declared in the past decade.

Can the new coronavirus affect anyone and everyone?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).  People with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) and older people appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

Common signs of infection

These include include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand and respiratory hygiene.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and as antibiotics only work on bacterial infections they should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment. However, if you are hospitalized for coronavirus, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

At present, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronaviruAs (2019-nCoV). There are some specific treatments currently under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. 

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

There is no current evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is recommended that you always wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various other common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella. 

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) advice for the public

The WHO’s standard recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices:

  • Clean hands frequently by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing and sneezing and throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
  • Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products
  • Handle raw meat, milk or animal organs with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods