What is Coronavirus
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. It got its name due to the crown-like spikes on their surface. Novel Coronavirus (COVID – 19) is a new Coronavirus that had not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses cause illness from the common cold to more severe disease such as,
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS CoV) and
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS CoV)
Usually, viruses have a DNA or RNA genome. But they never have both DNA and RNA. Novel Corona Virus has an RNA genome. This is the largest virus among all RNA viruses.
COVID – 19 Outbreak
Coronavirus causes respiratory illness. They attack primarily throat and lungs. Coronavirus can only reproduce after they infect living cells. The outbreak of respiratory illness is first detected in Wuhan, China. It affected people who have recently been in the area of Wuhan, Hubei province China.
Previously thought this virus had a link to seafood and animal. It suggests the animal to person spread. But now it is confirmed that it is person to person spread. Because reported patients had not exposed to the animal market in Wuhan.
It is although first spread in Wuhan, now it is spreading worldwide. Because of the peoples who travel from countries to countries, including China. At this moment in March 2020, the disease has spread to countries all around the world.
- Wide spreading of the transmissions countries are,
- South Korea
WHO announced COVID -19 as a pandemic. Pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. So COVID – 19 should take seriously, and each and every person has a responsibility to prevent its further transmission.
At this moment this virus is called “Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”. It is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are Zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. SARS-COV was transmitted from Civat cats to humans and MERS -COV from camels to humans. Some known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
Mode of transmissions of COVID -19
Initially, most of the cases had prior contact with the seafood and live animal market, suggesting an animal as the source of the outbreak. Recently, human to human transmission incidents have been reported, in family clusters and in health care workers.
Like other coronavirus infections, including SARS and MERS, human to human transmission is most likely to be direct contact with case-patients.
- It is either by
- Respiratory droplets
- Contaminated objects and surfaces
People who are traveling to or living in affected areas are in a risk of catching the disease.
- People with below illness make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease,
- Chronic lung disease
- Pre-existing Kidney failure
- Who have suppressed immune systems
Clinical Presentations of the COVID-19
- Common signs of infection are respiratory symptoms, like
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties.
- In more severe cases, chest radiographs showing invasive pneumonia infiltrates in both lungs.
The incubation period is the period between exposure to an infection and the appearance of the first symptoms. In COVID-19 that period is 2- 14 days.
Treatment for COVID-19
There is no specific antiviral treatment. To relieve the symptoms, infected patients should receive supportive care.
Still, there is no vaccine available to protect against COVID-19
Precautions for Medical Professions
How to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
- There are 4 methods.
- Standard precautions
- Droplet precautions
- Contact precautions
- Airborne precautions
When the patient enters acute febrile respiratory illness, infection prevention and control measures should be started.
- The patient should use a surgical mask and should isolate for 14 days.
- At least one-meter distance should maintain between each patient.
- Adequate ventilation should be maintained.
- Hand hygiene
- Wash hand well with soap and water before and after attending to the patients.
- Covering the mouth and nose during, coughing or sneezing with a surgical mask, cloth mask, tissue sleeves or flexed elbow.
- Use appropriate personal protective equipment
- Prevention of needlesticks and sharps injuries.
- Equipment and environment should be routine clean and disinfect
Droplet precautions prevent transmissions of respiratory viruses via large droplets. Since COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, droplet precautions are crucial.
- Use a surgical mask
- Place patients in a single room
- Use eye protection when you have to close contact with the patients.
Contact precautions help to prevent direct or indirect transmission from contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment.
- Use medical masks, Eye protection, Gloves, and gown when entering into the isolation room and remove those when leaving the room.
- Refrain from touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Ensure adequate room ventilation.
- Maintain hand hygiene.
- Avoid the presence of unnecessary individuals in the room.
- Use adequately ventilated rooms
- Use N95 masks only during aerosol-generating procedures like,
- Open suction of the respiratory tract
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
COVID – 19 is pandemic. So every person has a responsibility to prevent it from spreading further.