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Coronavirus: What are the symptoms and how can I protect myself? Coronavirus: What are the symptoms and how do I protect myself?
(about 16 hours later)
A virus causing severe lung disease that started in China has spread to other countries, including the UK.A virus causing severe lung disease that started in China has spread to other countries, including the UK.
The coronavirus had infected 59,864 people in China as of 13 February, with 1,368 of them dying. The coronavirus had infected 63,851 people in China as of 13 February, with 1,380 of them dying.
What are the symptoms?What are the symptoms?
It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.It seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.
After a week, it leads to shortness of breath and some patients require hospital treatment. Notably, the infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose or sneezing.After a week, it leads to shortness of breath and some patients require hospital treatment. Notably, the infection rarely seems to cause a runny nose or sneezing.
The incubation period - between infection and showing any symptoms - lasts up to 14 days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).The incubation period - between infection and showing any symptoms - lasts up to 14 days, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
But some researchers say it may be as long as 24 days.But some researchers say it may be as long as 24 days.
And Chinese scientists say some people may be infectious even before their symptoms appear.And Chinese scientists say some people may be infectious even before their symptoms appear.
How deadly is the coronavirus?How deadly is the coronavirus?
Based on data from 17,000 patients with this coronavirus, the WHO says:Based on data from 17,000 patients with this coronavirus, the WHO says:
The proportion dying from the disease, which has been named Covid-19, appears low (between 1% and 2%) - but the figures are unreliable.The proportion dying from the disease, which has been named Covid-19, appears low (between 1% and 2%) - but the figures are unreliable.
Thousands are still being treated but may go on to die - so the death rate could be higher.Thousands are still being treated but may go on to die - so the death rate could be higher.
But it is also unclear how many mild cases remain unreported - so the death rate could also be lower.But it is also unclear how many mild cases remain unreported - so the death rate could also be lower.
To put this it into context, about one billion people catch influenza every year, with between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths. The severity of flu changes every year.To put this it into context, about one billion people catch influenza every year, with between 290,000 and 650,000 deaths. The severity of flu changes every year.
Can coronavirus be treated or cured?Can coronavirus be treated or cured?
Right now, treatment relies on the basics - keeping the patient's body going, including breathing support, until their immune system can fight off the virus.Right now, treatment relies on the basics - keeping the patient's body going, including breathing support, until their immune system can fight off the virus.
However, the work to develop a vaccine is under way and it is hoped there will be human trials before the end of the year.However, the work to develop a vaccine is under way and it is hoped there will be human trials before the end of the year.
Hospitals are also testing anti-viral drugs to see if they have an impact.Hospitals are also testing anti-viral drugs to see if they have an impact.
How can I protect myself?How can I protect myself?
The WHO says:The WHO says:
How fast is it spreading?How fast is it spreading?
Thousands of new cases are being reported each day.Thousands of new cases are being reported each day.
However, analysts believe the true scale could be 10 times larger than official figures.However, analysts believe the true scale could be 10 times larger than official figures.
The number of cases is thought to be doubling every five to seven days.The number of cases is thought to be doubling every five to seven days.
The WHO says the outbreak, which it has declared a global emergency, can be contained.The WHO says the outbreak, which it has declared a global emergency, can be contained.
But some experts, including a former head of the US Centers for Disease Control, say it could become a pandemic - a global epidemic.But some experts, including a former head of the US Centers for Disease Control, say it could become a pandemic - a global epidemic.
With colds and flu tending to spread fastest in the winter, there is hope the turning of the seasons may help stem the outbreak.With colds and flu tending to spread fastest in the winter, there is hope the turning of the seasons may help stem the outbreak.
School holidays may also help to slow its spread.School holidays may also help to slow its spread.
However, a different strain of coronavirus - Middle East respiratory syndrome - emerged in the summer, in Saudi Arabia, so there's no guarantee warmer weather will halt the outbreak.However, a different strain of coronavirus - Middle East respiratory syndrome - emerged in the summer, in Saudi Arabia, so there's no guarantee warmer weather will halt the outbreak.
How did it start?How did it start?
This virus is not really "new" - it is just new to humans, having jumped from one species to another.This virus is not really "new" - it is just new to humans, having jumped from one species to another.
Many of the early cases were linked to the South China Seafood Wholesale Market, in Wuhan.Many of the early cases were linked to the South China Seafood Wholesale Market, in Wuhan.
In China, a lot of people come into close contact with animals harbouring viruses - and the country's dense urban population means the disease can be easily spread.In China, a lot of people come into close contact with animals harbouring viruses - and the country's dense urban population means the disease can be easily spread.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which is also caused by a coronavirus, started off in bats and then infected the civet cat, which in turn passed it on to humans.Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), which is also caused by a coronavirus, started off in bats and then infected the civet cat, which in turn passed it on to humans.
The Sars outbreak, which started in China in 2002, killed 774 of the 8,098 people infected.The Sars outbreak, which started in China in 2002, killed 774 of the 8,098 people infected.
The current virus - one of seven types of coronavirus - does not seem to be mutating so far. But while it appears stable, this is something scientists will be watching closely.The current virus - one of seven types of coronavirus - does not seem to be mutating so far. But while it appears stable, this is something scientists will be watching closely.
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