The common Human Coronaviruses mainly present as mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses similar to the common cold. Symptoms may include runny nose, cough, fever, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath, and may progress to pneumonia or bronchitis with shortness of breath and easy fatigability.
Those at high risk of developing complications include those with underlying chronic conditions, such as respiratory and cardiac diseases, immunocompromised individuals, diabetics, as well as those in extreme age groups (e.g. infants or the elderly). In addition, pregnant women are also at higher risk if infected by COVID-19.
There are several types of tests for this virus available. This would include serum PCR assay, nasal swab, broncho-alveolar lavage, sputum and sometimes stool samples.
There is no specific treatment or vaccination for Coronaviruses and most mild cases are treated based on symptoms. Symptom relief may be achieved by taking pain and fever medication, using a room humidifier, drinking plenty of liquids and staying indoors as well as getting as much rest as possible.
If symptoms are more severe, please seek treatment from your healthcare provider.
On 10 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an interim guideline for all countries to prepare for this new virus outbreak. However standard recommendations need to be followed for prevention of the spread of infection. These include:
The above measures are effective against all infectious agents, including Influenza A and B (“the flu”), which sickens millions of individual worldwide and kills thousands each year.
The WHO published considerations for repatriation and quarantine of travelers and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a health notice for travelers. These include taking the following steps to reduce exposure and limit transmission:
The WHO has advised all worldwide healthcare personnel and airport security personnel to be extra vigilant and enact enhancement of surveillance at airports for early detection and prevention of spread of the disease.
Please visit the WHO website for further information.