Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. 

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.


Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.  Most of those cases would be mild, and some people might show no symptoms at all. But the prospect of being infected with a new virus can be frightening. The symptoms to look out for, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • In rare cases, it can lead to severe respiratory problems, kidney failure

 These symptoms usually appear between two days and two weeks of exposure to the virus. People who are older or have existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, may be at higher risk of serious illness. This is similar to what is seen with other respiratory illnesses, such as influenza.


There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. The following steps will help to reduce contact with others:

1) Advice on the Use of Masks- It is advised to use medical masks in communities, at home and at health care facilities in areas that have reported outbreaks caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV). It is intended for public health and infection prevention and control (IPC) professionals, health care managers, health care workers and community health workers.

2) Wash your hands- Experts agree that washing your hands frequently is one of the most important acts in preventing virus spread. Specifically, clean hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds. And don’t just grab any soap, specifically pick up an antibacterial cleanser, and paying good attention to nail beds, fingertips and spaces between fingers when washing.

3) Refrain from touching your face-  Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, and mouth since you can transmit a virus in a single touch. While coming into contact with a contaminated surface won’t immediately confirm the spread, infection occurs when you touch your eyes, your mouth, or the inside of the nose. You can also be infected by breathing in infected droplets or virus suspended in the air from a cough or sneeze. However, those don’t last as long in the air as they do on surfaces. Another solution is to wipe down your surroundings with disinfectant wipes before coming into contact with them.

Here are five more things to remember, per the CDC:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.


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