In the recent past, the tension is high around the world over the newly-discovered respiratory virus, known to cause pneumonia. This newly identified type of coronavirus was first discovered in China. The worrying part is that this coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading like wildfire. Today, the virus has been reported in more than 20 other countries, the USA included, and with a death toll of over 2700.
What is coronavirus?
Most people have heard the name coronavirus after the recent outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus. However, the name has been there since the early ’60s, when the first human infection was reported. According to science, coronavirus comprises viruses that cause a range of symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, fever, and a runny nose. Some infections are mild, while others, such as the Wuhan Coronavirus are likely to cause pneumonia and even death within two weeks.
The name coronavirus is adopted from Latin, from the word Corona, which means crown. Their crown-like spikes on the surface, characterize these viruses. According to the CDC, seven types of coronaviruses can infect humans, including the newly-established Wuhan coronavirus. The infections are usually divided into two categories.
There is the first group of coronaviruses, which include:
- 229E (alpha coronavirus)
- HKU1(beta coronavirus)
- OC43 (beta coronavirus)
- NL63 (alpha coronavirus)
These four are usually referred to as community-acquired coronaviruses since they infect people from all over the world. The remaining three are the serious coronaviruses and that are known to cause even death.
1. COVID-19 (2019-CoV)
Leading in the list is the Wuhan coronavirus, as identified by many, and which has been making it to the news headlines recently. The first infection was first discovered in Wuhan, China. According to Dr. Bilal Shirazi from https://www.now-health.com/en/blog/wuhan-virus-the-facts/, the origin of the virus is suspected to be seafood from the city. Other people argue that its potential source was snakes, while some sources state that it’s from the bats.
The following signs and symptoms characterize this new coronavirus:
- sore throat
- runny nose
- Shortness of breath.
- pneumonia and
- respiratory tract conditions and even death
As of today, the number of infections continues to increase from all over the world. Health bodies, across the globe, are taking the necessary measures to help curb the spread via precautions, such as screening and quarantine measures at every other entry point.
2. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV)
SARS is another type of coronavirus that made news headlines in late 2002. Its source is yet to be confirmed. However, the first human infections were reported in a province in China, Guangdong. This coronavirus was a pandemic, infecting over 8000 people. The influenza-like disease spread in over 37 countries killing close to 800 people.
The early signs of this infection include:
- Dry coughs
- Shortness of breath
- Pneumonia and a severe lung infection may develop later
- Lung, liver or heart failure in the advanced stages
3. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV)
As the name suggests, this type of coronavirus was first established in a country in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia. The first human infection was reported in 2012, with its source suspected to be the camel. It spread in Saudi Arabia before reaching the U.S. and other countries. For MERS-CoV, the most significant infection outside the Peninsula occurred in South Korea, three years later. According to research published by the World Health Organization, the number of people infected with the virus was around 2500. This coronavirus resulted in 860 deaths in the 27 countries it hit.
Some of the signs and symptoms, accompanying the condition include:
- Shortness of breath
- Gastrointestinal problems
Like every other human coronavirus infection, MERS spreads through close contact with individuals who have the virus. All the cases of this infection are linked to victims who had returned from travel to the Arabian Peninsula.
In the recent past, news about the spread of Wuhan coronavirus has been the talk of the town. This newly-established type of coronavirus has been spreading from Wuhan city in China and making its way across the borders, with new infections being reported every day. Well, the truth is that the name coronavirus isn’t new in the industry, especially for those in the medical field. Explained in this article are the types of human coronaviruses that have been recorded since the early ’60s. By reading this piece, you will learn that some of the human coronavirus infections are mild, while others are severe. The article also goes further to explain the signs and symptoms of these infections.