Recently I was asked to comment on a recently discovered corona-virus discovered in Amman, Jordan. Corona-viruses are a family of viruses that includes those causing the common cold as well as the one responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which emerged in China in 2002 and killed around one in 10 of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.
The novel corona-virus or NCoV, was actually first discovered in Sept 2012 and nearly all cases have come from the Middle East. The virus captured headlines again after claiming it’s seventh victim worldwide.
So far scientists at the WHO and our CDC believe this virus likely sprang from animals, possibly bats. Fortunately, early indications suggest this virus does not spread from person to person easily.
Unlike the movies dramatizing a single sneeze infecting a bus load of people, this virus does NOT appear very contagious. However, a few of the initial cases did live in the same household which suggests some evidence for the possibility of person to person spread.
Overall, the virus has claimed 7 of 13 victims, an alarmingly high mortality rate for those infected.
My current research suggested the individuals dying from the virus have immune compromising medical conditions. This simply means they already had medical conditions rendering their ability to fight infection severely limited. Additionally, the virus seems to have originated in the Middle East. The latest victim contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia.
So far the UK has had at least one case that had recent travel from Saudi Arabia.
So what symptoms do sufferers of this new corona-virus experience? Same as the common cold. (Coughing, sneezing, sinus drainage, fever, etc.) Of course the difference in this case, the virus appears much more aggressive, especially in immune compromised individuals.
What’s the take away here? Should we freak out? (I was amused by the feigned anxiety the CNN reporter displayed covering this story in a report last month.)
I suggest to my reader that we keep an eye on this virus. Let’s watch for evidence of serious contagiousness not evident at this time. Let’s see if international travel spreads this deadly viral strain to other countries. Additionally, let’s keep in mind that it’s affecting seriously ill individuals NOT randomly healthy people.
As always, the best way to prevent infection stems from good general health. Proper rest, real-food nutrition, moderate regular exercise, stress reduction, and good basic hygiene go a long way towards prevention.
Overall, it’s not time to panic. I shall keep this topic on my radar and keep my readers posted. Feel free to shoot questions or report back to this post if new developments arise.
Scientist still following virus now called MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome). WHO now confirms at least 90 total cases. This virus seems to be affecting men and has different characteristics from SARS. I will continue to follow this story and report back any important developments.