According to India Today, about 440 cases of pneumonia caused by a new deadly virus (coronavirus) has affected the people of China and is spreading to other major cities.

As of now, nine people have lost their lives to this deadly virus in China and if the situation continues to worsen, the WHO will consider declaring it an international public health emergency.  

The US has also confirmed its first case with regards to the coronavirus. The unnamed patient is in his 30s and lives in Snohomish County, Washington. He had recently returned from Wuhan.

And, since prevention is always better than cure, here is everything you need to know about coronavirus that is slowly making its way to the neighbouring countries:

What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses known as Coronaviridae and they are named so because they look like spiked rings under an electron microscope.

The spikes on their envelope helps them bind cells which gives them a way in. Once they enter the cell it converts it into a virus factory with the help of its molecular conveyor belt that produces more viruses that spread across the body.

These types of viruses are usually found in animals but when they make the jump to humans they can cause fever, respiratory illness and inflammation in the lungs. 

Common human coronaviruses usually includes mild to moderate upper-respiratory tract illnesses like common cold that generally last a short amount of time.

Where did the virus originate from?
According to CNN, the virus originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China. However, the researchers still need to conduct a range of experiments to confirm the virus’ origin.

What are the symptoms that you need to be aware of?
– running nose 
– headache cough 
– sore throat 
– fever 
– a general feeling of being unwell
Elderly people or people with weakened immune system are at a higher risk of being affected with a much more serious respiratory tract illness like pneumonia or bronchitis.

How does this virus spread? 

This type of virus can spread from human contact with animals. A cough, a sneeze or even a handshake could cause exposure to this virus. The virus can also spread if you touch an infected person’s mouth, eye or nose.

How can it be prevented? 
Right now, there is no vaccine that is available to protect yourself against this family of viruses but, trials for a vaccine is underway.

Until then, here are some things you can do, in order to prevent yourself:
– Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. 
– Wash your hands often with soap and water and for at least 20 seconds. 
– If you are sick, stay home and avoid crowds and contact with others. 
– Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and disinfect the objects and surfaces you touch.

Is there any treatment ?

There is no specific treatment for this virus but doctors can prescribe medication to ease the symptoms. Here are some things you can do to ease the symptoms according to the CDC:
– Using a room humidifier or a hot shower can help with a sore throat or a cough 
– Drink plenty of fluids 
– Get rest and sleep as much as possible

How many confirmed cases have been reported?

As of 22nd January, 440 cases have been confirmed in China alone. Confirmed cases have also been reported in countries like Thailand, Japan, South Korea and the US.

Please take necessary precautions, stay alert and spread the word.