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A new virus has emerged from Wuhan City in China. In late December 2019, WHO was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, China. The Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a new virus, known as coronavirus. The coronavirus outbreak is thought to have originated in a Wuhan food market and continues to spread as China steps up containment efforts.WHO.

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Read more here on the current state of the outbreak

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people.  There are several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. These have not yet caused a coronavirus outbreak. Contamination of raws in such an outbreak has piqued our interest in the outbreak, which is why we are sharing the news.

Where did the virus come from?

The virus is believed to have originated late last year in a food market in the Chinese city of Wuhan that was illegally selling wildlife. Health experts think it may have originated in bats and then passed to humans, possibly via another animal species.

Can the coronavirus be transmitted via food?

The simple answer is that we do not have clear evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted via food and there are no real answers yet on the behaviour of the COVID-19 and effective kill treatments in the “food space”. Despite this, there are general precautions provided by the WHO to avoid contact with diseased animals, wash hands well after handling, etc.

Common signs coronavirus infections include :

Although the below symptoms are not unique to a coronavirus outbreak, these are important symptoms to be aware of.

  • Respiratory symptoms
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pneumonia
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Kidney failure
  • Even death

Preventing the spread of infection includes:

coronavirus outbreak

The prevention of coronavirus infections is similar to those in any related outbreaks including food poisoning.

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue.
  • Throw tissues away immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
  • If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
  • Avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals.
  • The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided.
    • Raw meat
    • Milk
    • Animal organs
  • Follow good food safety practices.

History of the virus

coronavirus outbreak

2003

774 people died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

2012

About 858 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which first appeared in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and then in other countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

2014

The first American was hospitalised for MERS in Indiana and another case was reported in Florida.

2015

There was an outbreak of MERS in Korea, which was the largest outbreak outside of the Arabian Peninsula.

2019 / 20

2700 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Wuhan City, China. And is ongoing throughout southern Asia.

The WHO has been working with Chinese authorities and global experts from the day we were informed, to learn more about the virus, how it affects the people who are sick with it, how they can be treated, and what countries can do to respond.

Follow the latest updates on the outbreak here