The mysterious outbreak of epidemic diseases in China and other parts of the world in recent times is not something new. Whether it is the Zika virus, Ebola or SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), their ill effects on the human body have ranged from minor to the extent of being fatal. Wuhan Pneumonia is one such outbreak that came to light in December 2019.
It was first identified in Wuhan in a 3-year old girl (whose condition was later reported as “stable”) and was feared to be a deadly disease. On 31st December 2019, around 27 pneumonia cases were identified in Wuhan, relating to the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market. The first people to be affected were those who were working at different stalls in the market. The seafood market, which is known for selling bats, spotted deer, chicken, venomous snakes, animal organs and other wildlife, was closed immediately for disinfection owing to the suspicion that the virus came from one of the animals.
Image source: BBC
As of writing (16 January 2020), the first case of Wuhan Pneumonia outside of China has been observed in Thailand. A woman arrived from Wuhan in Bangkok on January 8, when she began displaying symptoms of the illness. BBC reports no other passengers on the plane were infected. She has been quarantined and will return to Wuhan shortly.
The total number of affected people has risen to 41 with one death as a result of Wuhan Pneumonia. In a rare case, a 61-year old man reportedly died of a heart attack and pneumonia infection on 11th January 2020, while he also suffered other health conditions like chronic liver disease.
This real-time map (below) by the John Hopkins University shows the number of people affected across the globe.
Doctors and authorities of China have taken quick action in treating the patients and raising awareness. It’s a huge sigh of relief that the novel coronavirus hasn’t shown any risk of being transmitted between humans.
Adding to it, a respiratory medicine expert from the Chinese University, Professor David Hui Shu-Cheong revealed that the Wuhan Pneumonia is low in severity when compared to SARS. Therefore, it’s stated that Singapore is at the least risk of getting Wuhan Pneumonia.
So while almost 1,755 people were diagnosed with SARS and 299 succumbed to death from the deadly disease in 2003, this latest pneumonia-causing coronavirus is said to be milder.
However, the government of China has taken safety measures to protect its people. The whole of Hong Kong was put on high alert following the observation by experts that the coronavirus belongs to the same family of viruses that had earlier induced the deadly SARS epidemic. They have tightened screening at the airports and train stations for people travelling from Wuhan to other countries. Travellers have been asked to wear face masks at all times in order to stay safe from getting affected.
Wuhan Pneumonia – Symptoms
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The two main symptoms of this disease include:
Dyspnea refers to severe difficulty in breathing caused due to viral infection in the lungs.
The other major symptoms are dry cough and fatigue. So when you first notice signs of the regular flu, it’s best to get tested for Wuhan Pneumonia.
Prevention and Treatment
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Since the coronavirus is believed to spread through droplets, you are advised to wear surgical masks (disposable), avoid animals, clean your hands frequently, avoid contact with virus-affected people and maintain toilet hygiene strictly. It is also advised not to consume game meat or any other meat until things are back to normal. Treatment for this kind of pneumonia involves medication, ample rest, increased intake of water/liquids and the use of a clean humidifier.
The Wuhan Pneumonia virus outbreak hasn’t been reported in other countries to date, which is good news! Diseases caused by some coronaviruses can be treated, provided it is diagnosed at the earliest. Ensure that you follow the above-mentioned safety measures and you’re good to go.
References: Real World Survivor, South China Morning Post, World Health Organisation, BBC