Coronavirus outbreak: WHO lists facts, myths and misinformation
The World Health Organisation declared the new coronavirus a global emergency on Thursday.
A new deadly strain of virus which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan has so far claimed over 200 lives and infected almost 10,000 people. The virus is known as 2019-nCoV and Chinese scientists have linked the disease to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include the deadly SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome.
The coronavirus can though cause severe acute respiratory infection and lead to death.
It has now spread outside China as about 100 cases have been reported in 18 countries. India confirmed its first case of the virus -- a student in Kerala who was studying in Wuhan -- on Thursday.
Due to the alarming situation, the World Health Organisation has declared the new coronavirus a global emergency.
NEWS: #Coronavirus declared a public health emergency of international concern by @WHO.— United Nations (@UN) January 30, 2020
Global outbreak includes 98 cases in 18 countries, outside China.
More info, including tips on how to stay healthy: https://t.co/tsGUhNhrv2 pic.twitter.com/ZDyTXeVXyg
"There are now 98 #2019nCoV cases in 18 countries outside #China, including 8 cases of human-to-human transmission in four countries: Germany, Japan, Viet Nam and the United States of America"-@DrTedros— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 30, 2020
The virus -- believed to have originated from wildlife and transferred to humans – has created panic among people. So the WHO has listed some myth busters related the epidemic. Take a look:
Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus?
At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.
Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new coronavirus is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.
However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.
Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?
To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.
However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.