Coronaviruses are RNA enveloped viruses than can infect animals and humans. So far, there are six known human coronaviruses. Four of these coronaviruses are less pathogenic, generally causing only minor respiratory symptoms like the common cold. Two other coronaviruses — Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) — can cause serious respiratory diseases.
A new strain of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has emerged, is causing illnesses globally and is different from other coronaviruses. To date, the virus has infected tens of thousands of people around the world, with thousands of reported deaths. As surveillance proceeds, there may be more cases identified. The cases were originally linked to a live animal market in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China, but now cases are occurring due to community spread. Public Health authorities are actively investigating this outbreak.
Because of this, public health recommendations focus on standard infection control practices to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are like other upper-respiratory infections, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. They range from mild to severe and appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Since coronaviruses can be extremely contagious and spread easily from person to person, medical diagnosis is required.
Transmission routes for COVID-19, include:
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection.
Infection risk can be reduced by doing the following:
Enveloped viruses are the least resistant to inactivation by disinfection. The structure of these viruses includes a lipid envelope, which is easily compromised by most disinfectants. Once the lipid envelope is damaged, the integrity of the virus is compromised, thereby neutralizing its infectivity.
As with any communicable disease, it is recommended to focus on proper hand hygiene and disinfection of high-touchpoint areas including railings, doorknobs and handles and restroom surfaces.