Abstract
GLOBAL EPIDEMIC OF CORONAVIRUS—COVID-19: WHAT CAN WE DO TO MINIMIZE RISKS

*Sunil J. Wimalawansa, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, FRCP, FRCPath, DSc.

ABSTRACT

The 2019 coronavirus outbreak started in Hubei Province in China. Despite major travel restrictions, the virus spread across all China’s provinces. Based on the rapidity of the dispersion, coronavirus has become a serious public health concern in China and a few other countries. Coronavirus belongs to a large family of viruses that usually affect wild animals. Following gene mutations and with close exposure to infected animals, these viruses occasionally are transmitted to humans and subsequently spread among humans. Coronaviruses cause the common cold and more severe diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Such diseases are infectious at close range and spread via person-to-person contact, with an approximate death rate of 3%. An effective vaccine against the 2019/20 coronavirus is expected to be available within 6 months. Precautions taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are is similar to those used to lessen transmission of the common cold and flu-like illnesses, including minimizing exposure by limiting time in public places and public transportation, and frequently washing hands. This article is intended to provide a general description of the current situation related to the coronavirus outbreak and not to provide medical advice.

Keywords: Epidemic; Pandemic; H5N1; SARS; MERS; COVID-19; Zika.


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