Coronavirus symptoms – what is it and how is it spread?

THE outbreak of coronavirus, which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has killed 213 people while 9,000 have contracted the disease.

Two cases of the virus have now been officially confirmed in UK. These are the symptoms to look out for and how exactly the disease is spread.

 A coronavirus patient in China


A coronavirus patient in ChinaCredit: Alamy Live News

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can cause infections ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).

The virus attacks the respiratory system, causing pneumonia-like lung lesions.

Some of the virus types cause less serious disease, while others – like the one that caused Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) – are far more severe.

In 2003 an outbreak of a similar virus, Sars, killed more than 900 around the world within weeks.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are similar to a common cold.

They include:

  • a runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • fever
  • shortness of breath
  • chills
  • body aches

In most cases, you won’t know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people with heart disease or those with weakened immune systems.

There is no vaccine for coronavirus.

To help prevent infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold such as using alcohol-based anti-bacterial soaps and sprays.

People should also avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth – and avoid contact with people who are infected.

A coronavirus infection should be treated the same way a cold is treated.

How does coronavirus spread?

Coronavirus is an airborne virus, spread in a similar way to colds and the flu.

It is incredibly contagious and is spread through contact with anything the virus is on as well as infected breath, coughs or sneezes.

This means that anyone who is infected can pass it on to any surface or person they breathe on or touch.

How far has the virus spread so far?

In spite of efforts to contain the virus, it has gone international.

There have been more than 9,000 cases reported worldwide.

Thailand, Hong Kong, the US, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, France, Vietnam and Nepal have all reported cases.

On January 31, 2020 the first two cases were reported in the UK.

How many people have died from coronavirus?

The global death toll is already over 200.

In China, the majority of those deaths were all in the central province of Hubei.

Shanghai reported its first death on Saturday, January 25.

The youngest confirmed case is a nine-year-old girl in Beijing.


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