According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause illness ranging from a mere common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). COVID-19 is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans that was discovered in 2019.
Transmitted Between Animals and Humans
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, which means they are normally transmitted between animals and humans. While there are several known coronaviruses that are circulating in animals that have not infected humans yet, investigations found that MERS-CoV was transmitted from dromedary camels to humans, and SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 can include:
- Respiratory Symptoms
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
If you develop warning signs of COVID-19, it is important to seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY. In more severe cases, COVID-19 infections can cause Pneumonia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Kidney Failure, and Death.
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that the best way to prevent the virus is to avoid being exposed to it. The virus mainly spreads between person-to-person contact such as being in close contact with an infected party, or through respiratory droplets found in an infected person’s cough or sneeze.
Tips for Prevention:
The CDC suggests a number of things people can do to minimize the spread of the viruses:
- Wash your hands often
- Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoid close contact with others
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Throw used tissue in the trash
- Wear a face mask if you are sick or caring for someone that is sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
For more information on COVID-19, visit the CDC and WHO websites.