Generation by generation new diseases emerge as an alarm for challenge to the human race. Repetition of history is being seen in China of one such outbreak.
Tracing back in time, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was first infected in the Guangdong province of Southern China in 2002. It affected 26 countries and gave rise to 8000 cases in 2003. It killed nearly 650 people in Hong Kong/China in 2002-2003. The transmission was thought to be from bats, spread to civet cats to humans. Human-to-human transmission was also observed in other countries i.e. Toronto in Canada, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China, Chinese Taipei Singapore and Hanoi in Vietnam as per World Health Organization.
On 8th December 2019, a patient reported pneumonia like symptoms in a local hospital in Wuhan, China. From there onwards, similar cases have been reported. On 31st December 2019, World Health Organization’s country office was informed of these cases. Later, on 7th January 2020, Chinese authorities identified the disease is caused by a new type of coronavirus with a centre of outbreak being seafood/animal market in Wuhan. This new virus is known as Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
As per WHO, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Novel Coronavirus is a new type that has been identified in humans recently. Basic hand and respiratory hygiene and safe food practices can act as preventive measures. When possible, avoid close contact with person showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
According to 21st January 2020 report of WHO, in total 282 cases (272 from China, 2 from Thailand, 1 from Japan, and 1 from Republic of Korea) have been reported across the globe of the new virus. 51 are seriously ill and 12 are in critical condition out of the 278 confirmed cases. As on 22nd January 2020, 448 cases have been recorded in China and 7 abroad. The death toll has reached 17 so far, all in Hubei province in China. This year’s Lunar New Year migration has fears mounted as it will spread the virus further.
B.Com. (Hons) Jamia Millia Islamia