Should we be afraid of the mysterious Chinese virus?

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Should we be afraid of the mysterious Chinese virus?

A mysterious virus, previously unknown to scientists, causes serious lung disease in the Chinese city of Wuhan. More than 50 people are infected and seven are in critical condition.

It causes pneumonia in patients, so as it has not been discovered so far, the level of caution is very high because it is not yet known how dangerous it is, the BBC reports.

What is this virus?

Samples of the virus were taken from patients and he underwent laboratory tests, after which the World Health Organization concluded that it was a coronavirus. Coronaviruses often attack animals, but only six of them attack humans. The severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS, which also causes coronavirus, killed 774 people out of 8,098 infected when the 2002 epidemic erupted.

How dangerous is it?

Coronaviruses can cause mild colds and can be deadly. This new virus is somewhere in between. The symptoms it causes are similar to the symptoms of a cold, which is worrying but not as dangerous as SARS.

Where did he come from?

New viruses are detected constantly. They move from one species, where they have not been observed, to humans. Coronaviruses come from animals – SARS has moved from a kind of Chinese cat to humans.

What animal is at stake here?

Those afflicted are being linked to the Wuhan Sea Food Market, where some marine mammals (such as beluga whales) may have a coronavirus. However, the market is crowded with wild animals, bats, rabbits, snakes and these animals are more likely to be carriers than seafood.

Why China?

The reason for this is probably the size of the country and the population density, as well as the close contact with the animals that carry the virus.

How easily is the virus transmitted?

The most comforting thing about this virus is that it does not seem to be transmitted from person to person. This is a major problem with viruses that otherwise infect the lungs, because they are easily spread and epidemics are frequent because they are easily transmitted. Had it been transmitted from person to person, health workers would have been infected by now, but that did not happen. However, some experts believe that it is too early to claim that this infection is not transmitted from person to person.

How fast is it spreading?

It is not spreading fast for now. All 59 patients had symptoms between December 12 and 29, 2019, and there were no new cases after them. However, concerns and caution remain, especially as a serious spread of the virus could occur if one of the infected is found in a mass celebrating Chinese New Year.

How are Chinese authorities responding?

Infected people are treated in isolation to minimize the risk of spreading the virus. The condition of more than 150 people who have been in contact with the infected is constantly monitored to see if they show any signs of the disease. In addition, the seafood market is closed to be cleaned and disinfected. Tourists also control whether they have any symptoms.

How concerned are the experts?

“Now that we don't have enough information, it's hard to say how worried we should be. Until we have confirmation of the source of the infection, we won't care,” says one of the doctors studying the virus.

“We need to be concerned about every virus that people first encounter. Once it comes in contact with human cells, it can mutate, start to spread faster and become more dangerous. We don't want to give it a chance,” another doctor explains.

Should we be afraid of the mysterious Chinese virus?

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