Myths and truth about coronavirus: where you can take a special test and…

Health Tips

Around 89,000 cases were reported at the end of February, according to the World Health Organization. By the beginning of March, the number of deaths from a new type of coronavirus in the world exceeded 3,000 people, so preventive measures (and at the same time the rules of conduct in such a situation) will come in handy. Especially when our compatriots who have returned from “unsafe” countries do not attach importance to the main symptoms and try to cope with the disease on their own. So, for example, the other day, a Russian who flew in from Italy was confirmed to have coronavirus, Interfax reports with reference to the operational headquarters for combating the virus: “According to the epidemiological investigation, it was established that the young man fell ill on February 21 while on vacation in Italy On February 23, he returned home, and on February 27 he went to the clinic with symptoms of SARS, from where he was immediately sent to the infectious diseases hospital. At the moment, the patient is isolated, and the people with whom he spoke are under medical supervision.

In addition to China, the virus is most widespread in Iran, South Korea and Italy, so Rospotrebnadzor recommended our compatriots to refrain from traveling to these countries, and Rostourism supported this initiative and advised Russian tour operators to suspend the sale of tours to “unsafe” countries.

We analyze the main myths associated with the virus and find out what preventive measures will help protect against this disease.

Myth: Real panic reigns in China

Alas, this is not a myth. In China, 15 cities have been quarantined. Aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces will evacuate Russians from the contaminated territories of the Celestial Empire within a few days. The WHO has declared an international emergency. Meanwhile, the number of victims of coronavirus has exceeded 350 people. And if we are not yet officially talking about the epidemic, then the panic among the population is definitely yes. In the same Chinese city of Wuhan, checkpoints are everywhere, people are not allowed into neighboring regions, there are much fewer passers-by on the streets and they are all wearing masks…

And while society is hysterical about the fact that this virus can be cured with saline or Chinese tea and that it is spreading along with bananas and parcels from Aliexpress, the Russians themselves are wondering: is it possible not to be afraid to receive these same parcels from China? Yes, you can. The virus does not live on objects. Representatives of “Aliexpress”, for example, gave an official comment, emphasizing that there is no evidence that packages or their contents can pose a danger to human health.

Myth: Everyone who gets infected dies

Of course not, not all of them. A young healthy organism is more likely to overcome the strain. Among the dying are many people over the age of fifty and suffering from chronic diseases. Mortality at the moment is 2.2% (170 cases). More than 88 thousand contact persons have been traced, almost 82 thousand people are under observation. However, this is only the beginning of an outbreak (not an epidemic yet!), making a forecast is problematic. The results of the measures taken in China will not be visible until mid-February, but for now the number of cases and deaths will continue to grow.

Myth: The virus came from bats

Yes it’s true. In China, they eat the meat of a variety of mammals, reptiles, birds. The first infected were related to the food market in Wuhan. There you could buy snake meat, bat carcasses, and seafood. According to our expert, the natural hosts of coronaviruses are often mammals, less often birds. It is important to remember that after the end of the outbreak or epidemic period, the virus does not disappear into nowhere, but continues to circulate in its natural reservoirs. That is, coronaviruses are far from new.

(CoV) is a large family of viruses (as of January 2020, 40 types of RNA-containing viruses have been identified), some can cause disease in humans and animals, are characterized by different clinical manifestations – from the usual symptoms of an acute respiratory infection to severe forms with the development of pneumonia and multiple organ failure.

When did the coronavirus really become known?

“For the first time, the coronavirus was isolated from a patient with acute rhinitis back in 1965. Only almost 40 years later, the coronavirus attracted attention, when in 2002-2003. in China, an outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS, SARS)) was recorded. At the beginning of the epidemic, the local authorities of the PRC concealed cases of mass infection with the SARS-CoV virus, the virus spread to 37 countries. More than 8,400 people fell ill, of which about 800 died ( lethality 9.6%).

The virus mutated rather quickly, was transmitted through contact with another person, and the incubation period (the time from contact with a sick person to the onset of symptoms of the disease in the contact) ranged from 2 to 10 days. However, it is still unclear whether it is possible to infect other people before the onset of clinical symptoms of the disease (during the prodrome) or after their disappearance. Specific means of treatment (antiviral drugs) and prevention (vaccination) have not been developed.

Coronaviruses presented another “gift” in 2012 on the Arabian Peninsula, then in 2015, first in Korea, and then in 23 more countries, a new disease was diagnosed – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). In addition to the standard symptoms – muscle pain, fever and cough – were added stomach pain and diarrhea. In contrast to SARS, the mortality rate was higher, ranging from 27% to 43%. Again, no specific treatment has been developed. Several experimental vaccines have been reported in development, but none have been recommended for use in the general population.”

When will it go down?

“It is possible that in three weeks! The current outbreak is caused by the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV (temporary name assigned by WHO on January 12, 2020), which is a recombinant between a bat coronavirus and a previously unknown coronavirus. Its genetic study showed that it is similar to the previously known SARS-CoV virus by almost 70%.”

How can you get infected?

“The new coronavirus 2019-nCoV is found in the air, food and household items contaminated with the virus. The virus is spread by airborne droplets (when coughing, sneezing, talking), airborne dust and contact. Cases of infection of medical personnel in contact with patients are described.

Symptoms of the disease

After an incubation period of 2 to 14 days (there are reports of a longer period of up to 21 days), symptoms of an acute respiratory viral infection appear:

  • fever,
  • cough dry or with a small amount of sputum,
  • muscle pain,
  • fatigue,
  • feeling of congestion in the chest and shortness of breath,
  • less often – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and hemoptysis. More severe shortness of breath develops at the end of the first week.

The illness can be mild, like the common cold, or severe, with pneumonia with or without respiratory failure, ARDS, toxic shock, and sepsis. A severe course of the disease with a high mortality rate, according to China, is recorded in 25% of those infected with 2019-nCoV.”

How is the virus diagnosed?

“To confirm the diagnosis in patients and examine contact persons, several test systems have been developed, including Russian ones, based on the polymerase chain reaction method. Basically, a swab is taken from the nasopharynx and / or oropharynx for research. The final result is obtained after 4-10 hours from the start of the study.

What about the vaccine?

“While she is gone. Several countries have announced the start of work on the creation of a vaccine, but it will not be possible to create it faster than in six months.

In Shanghai, medical staff use a two-component aerosol antiviral agent sprayed into the mouth before entering the quarantine zone. A positive therapeutic effect is reported in the first days of the disease. In Russia, there are two drugs with a direct antiviral effect, the effectiveness of which against coronaviruses has been shown in vitro (not in vivo!)

Can you get sick again?

“It is likely that immunity after a novel coronavirus infection is the same as for infections caused by other members of the coronavirus family, it is not stable, which means that re-infection is possible.”

How to protect yourself?

Rospotrebnadzor also spoke about anti-epidemic measures taken in connection with the spread of coronavirus and emphasized that most cases of the disease are mild and only 10.1% are severe.

If you have symptoms of the disease (cough, fever, weakness, conjunctivitis, possibly diarrhea), then do not self-medicate, but consult a doctor immediately. Currently, all centers of hygiene and epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation are provided with diagnostic test systems for detecting a new coronavirus (COVID-19), so the sooner the disease is detected, the better.

Prevention measures are also quite simple:

  • It is necessary to use a medical mask in crowded places. We enter, for example, into public transport – we put on a mask, we go out – we must throw it away. It cannot be put in a pocket and reused. It makes no sense to wear a mask on the street – condensation forms in it, where viruses and bacteria multiply perfectly. If, for example, you are walking in a park where there are not many people, there is no point in wearing a mask.

  • To wash hands. Especially after traveling on public transport, if you held a headscarf, took off your mask, sneezed, had contact with a sick person, and also before eating.

  • Remember that you need to sneeze into your sleeve (bent elbow), and not into your palm, because then you will touch handrails and handles with this hand, which means you will spread viruses. Do not sneeze into the mask – it will need to be thrown away immediately. If you sneeze into a handkerchief, it should also be disposed of. A sneezer sprays viruses up to 2 meters away. To date, it is known that 10 patients with a new coronavirus infection can infect 14 to 25 healthy people, which is similar to seasonal flu.

  • Avoid crowded places during the outbreak, do not go to mass events, stay at home so as not to contact infected people.

  • Refuse to visit countries (territories) where an outbreak of a new coronavirus infection has been registered.

  • The sick must be isolated.

  • Constant disinfection in the room where the sick person is located.

  • Do not self-medicate.

Photo: vostock-photo

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