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Corona virus

Corona virus: comprehensive profile "All you need to know about corona virus"

Corona virus appeared globally for the first time in southeast Asia in the 1960s, but it first appeared in the Middle East region at the end of 2012, when doctors in the Arabian Peninsula monitored severe cases of influenza not responding to usual management.

The term "Corona" appeared due to the shape of the virus under the electronic microscope, which closely resembles the crown. It was named in the medical community of the Middle East as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV).

There are many theories that explain the mechanism of disease development and transmission; the most reliable theory is the presence of corona virus in certain mammals (mainly in bats, less commonly in camels and cattle). The transmission of this virus among mammals used to cause influenza-like symptoms, but later corona virus underwent genetic mutations, which enabled it to spread to humans and transmission from human to human.

Generally, there are 4 subtypes of corona virus, they include:

  1. Alpha subtype: it's the most active and serious one; it has the ability to be transmitted to humans, causing severe infection.
  2. Beta subtype: it's relatively less active than alpha subtype, but it can spread to human and cause severe forms of infection too.
  3. Gamma & delta subtypes: they are inactive subtypes; studies showed that these subtypes can't spread to humans.

Corona virus can survive in the external environment for 1 week (in humid atmosphere), so infection can occur in case of contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus. Also inhalation of sneezing or cough droplets containing the virus leads to infection.

When corona virus invades the human body, it stays in an incubation period for 1-2 weeks, after that it causes influenza-like symptoms; they include:

  • Fever (could reach 40º C).
  • Dyspnea and shortness of breathing.
  • Cough and nasal congestion.
  • Fatigue and lethargy.
  • Recurrent headache associated with generalized body pain.

Unfortunately, wide range of people neglect the above symptoms, as they think they have just influenza or common cold, leading to development of complications such as; lower respiratory tract infection, pneumonia, acute bronchitis and finally respiratory failure, which is life threatening and usually leads to death.

The clinical picture of corona isn't a reliable tool for proper diagnosis, so pharyngeal swab is done for isolation and identifying the virus.

There is no definite treatment for corona virus, so management plan consists of conservative treatment (rest, diet, analgesics, and fluids) as well as antiviral drugs. Antibiotics can be used in cases of secondary bacterial infection.

Because prevention is better than cure, the following instructions and precautions should be followed:

  1. Stay away from crowded or poorly ventilated places.
  2. Avoid contact with anybody who has flu or common cold.
  3. If you feel any influenza symptoms, you should seek medical advice quickly.
  4. Personal hygiene should be maintained, especially frequent washing of hands with water and soap.
  5. Meat should be cooked well; even meat infected with corona virus is safe if it cooked well.

 

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