DAA Daily

Cases triple as virus spreads to Beijing and Shanghai

Oyku Cicek Butun, Charlotte Eykerman and Nanor Pontigian Staff reporter, Opinion Editor and Science & Tech Editor, The Pawprint

Since the start of January the number of cases of the Coronavirus in China  has tripled, there are now 200 cases reported since the virus was first detected,  The cases are mostly in Wuhan but has also been detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.The virus was first observed  in the city of Wuhan in early January, when there were only 44 observed cases of the virus outbreak. 

The virus was later discovered to be a new virus which in a short amount of time spread to affect 60 people at the beginning of the month. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had also announced that a coronavirus is to be blamed for the outbreak. Mr Xu, who is leading efforts to identify the cause, said they had found the “new type” of coronavirus by testing infected blood samples and throat swabs collected from 15 people.

Coronaviruses can cause different diseases, ranging from the common cold to much more severe ones such as Sars and Mers. However, Gauden Galea, the WHO representative to China, said “further investigations” were required to “determine the source, modes of transmission, extent of infection and countermeasures implemented” 

Fears the virus could be spread became real due to the fact it struck just before China’s peak travel season, when hundreds of millions of people are set to travel for Chinese New Year later this month. 

Respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan, who is leading the health commission team investigating the virus, reported 14 medical workers had caught it while treating patients, state media reported

Experts in the UK told the BBC the number of people infected could still be far greater than official figures suggest, with estimates closer to 1,700. The World Health Organization has shared some information about the virus which is the extent of our knowledge,  

  • Scientists believe an animal source is “the most likely primary source” but that some human-to-human transmission has occurred 
  • Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties
  • People are being advised to avoid “unprotected” contact with live animals, thoroughly cook meat and eggs, and avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms

Source: World Health Organization

Background

Back in 2002 to 2003, a SARS epidemic broke out and affected around 26 countries over the world. Most cases were found in Hong Kong and China. In China at the time, more than 5,300 people were infected by this virus and it led to the death of 349 people. In Hong Kong, it affected 1,750 people and resulted in the death of 286 people.

            At the time, the death rate was 9% all the way to 12%. The virus seems to spread more in eldery and people over 65. They have a higher death rate of 50%.

            It all starts off with a simple cold and it’s believed to have spread from mammals in China. The virus can be transferred from any type of contact. It’s known to have spread even if the temperature is below freezing and it has been shown to live for many days.

           The symptoms of the SARS virus, usually occur 2 to 10 days after the person has come in contact with the virus. The main symptoms of this virus include, cough, breathing difficulties, fever of 38.0 degrees Celsius or higher.

           People with symptoms should be checked right away and if they’re suspected of having SARS, they should be isolated in a hospital. Doctors and researchers have tried to find a vaccine with little success.

           In 2004, while the virus had dropped off the radar, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued a ban on the importation of civets (large cats) which seemed to be the main cause of the outbreak and are considered a delicacy in China.

Even though the ban is still in effect.

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