In China, a previously unknown virus has killed three people. Is he dangerous to us?
Categories: Health and MedicineBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/in-china-a-previously-unknown-virus-has-killed-three-people-is-he-dangerous-to-us
In the city of Wuhan, located in the central part of China, an outbreak of a previously unknown form of viral pneumonia has been recorded, which has already claimed the lives of three people. On January 18, doctors confirmed 60 cases of this disease, but according to the information available to the BBC news agency, the number of cases has already exceeded 1,700 people.
For the first time, a new ailment was recorded in December 2019. Hospitals in Wuhan began to receive people with very similar symptoms: shortness of breath, cough and fever. Everything was similar to classic pneumonia, but it took place in a more acute, accelerated form. The first death from the new virus was recorded on January 9, and the second on January 15.
Transportation of a patient with a new form of viral pneumonia
By mid-January, the coronavirus had already been noticed in Thailand, Japan and South Korea, and epidemiologists claim that the spread of the disease will not be limited to these countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that the most likely way to spread the virus is considered to be human-to-human transmission through direct contact.
Modern science defines coronaviruses as a very broad family of viruses that are common among mammals, birds and fish. Of the 7 such coronaviruses transmitted to humans, only three are dangerous. Infection from Wuhan has not been studied enough yet, but it already has its own name — 2019-nCoV.
This is what 2019-nCoV looks like under an electron microscope
Scientists suggest that the 2019-nCoV natural reservoir is bats. There are far from groundless assumptions that the first cases of the disease are associated with the Wuhan fish market. They traditionally sell not only river and sea fish, but also small mammals used in this region for food.
The animals are sold live, and they may well have been infected with coronavirus from local bats. The causative agent of the disease could get into human organisms from poorly roasted mammalian meat. This is the opinion of Mikhail Shchelkanov, Professor, virologist at the Institute of Virology. Ivanovsky.
But these are just assumptions, as Chinese health officials do not provide a complete picture of the epidemic. Most likely, the official information will be publicly available only after the local markets selling fish are checked.
Masked police at a fish market in Wuhan
A similar outbreak of an unknown virus occurred in the early 2000s. Then another coronavirus, called SARS, swept through ten Asian countries and claimed the lives of 774 people. Then everything ended safely and the fast-flowing pneumonia was stopped.
The Chinese authorities propose to control the spread of the virus by checking passengers at airports, bus stations, railway stations and ports. Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong have already begun a thorough check of all passengers arriving from Wuhan. Outside the Asian region, similar measures were taken by the US authorities a week ago.
Checking the body temperature of passengers in China
The probability that the coronavirus 2019-nCoV will sooner or later enter the territory of the Russian Federation is quite high. Viktor Zuev, MD, Professor, virologist at the Gamalei Institute, believes that despite the potential danger, it is still not worth panicking:
Vladivostok Airport workers during special exercises
At Russian airports, passengers from The Celestial Empire is being checked only with the help of a thermal imager, but soon customs specialists will also receive express tests. Russian scientists are working on their development, and they promise that the identification of an infected person will be carried out with their help in just 15-20 minutes. The use of tests will be more effective than temperature measurements, since the method will make it possible to determine the disease at the stage of the incubation period.The information received from doctors from Wuhan. Mr. Li Gang, director of the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, argues that the danger of coronavirus should not be exaggerated. Most of the patients suffered from the disease very easily and out of 700 people who had close contact with the sick, not one was hospitalized with a severe form of pneumonia.
It is known that in China, 14 medical workers became infected from patients while performing various manipulations, but there is no exact information about the form in which they carry the disease. Most reputable experts believe that there is no cause for concern yet and time will tell whether it will appear at all.
No matter how events develop, humanity already has effective ways to combat pandemics and some positive practical experience.