Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause mild to moderate illness. They range from the common cold to respiratory syndromes such as MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). They are so named because of the crown-shaped spikes that are present on their surface.
The virus responsible for the epidemic currently affecting us is a new strain of coronavirus never before identified in humans. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named this disease COVID-19. This SARS-CoV2 disease-causing virus is a SARS-like virus.
Symptoms: How do I know if I have Coronavirus?
Fever and flu-like symptoms, such as cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing (shortness of breath), muscle aches, tiredness, are signs of possible coronavirus infection. Flu symptoms, at least at an early stage, are very similar to those of other respiratory infections.
Fever and shortness of breath together are the most common initial symptoms of Covid-19.
Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms. Most of the currently confirmed cases, especially children and young adults, appear to have a mild, flu-like, slow-onset illness. About 20% appear to progress to more severe disease. This group of people develop pneumonia, severe acute respiratory failure, and kidney failure. Those who become severely ill and have difficulty breathing require hospitalization.
Older people and those with other underlying conditions, such as hypertension, heart problems or diabetes, and immunosuppressed patients are more likely to develop severe forms of the disease.
Recommendations: How do I know if I have Coronavirus?
All elderly people or those suffering from one or more chronic pathologies, or with congenital or acquired immunosuppression states, should avoid leaving their homes or homes except in cases of strict necessity and should avoid places where it is not possible to maintain an interpersonal safety distance of at least one meter.
Incubation of Coronavirus
This is the period of time between infection and the development of clinical symptoms. Recent evidence provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on the incubation period of the virus delimits the period between 2 and 12 days, up to a maximum of 14 days.
Contagiousness and lethality
The disease is characterized by a lower lethality (number of deaths in the total number of patients) than that observed for other coronaviruses responsible for epidemics in the past such as SARS and MERS, even if its contagiousness is higher than that observed for the two competing coronaviruses.
How the disease is transmitted
Many coronaviruses can be transmitted from person to person. Usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, between family members or in a health care setting. The new coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 respiratory disease can also be transmitted from person-to-person through close contact with a probable or confirmed case.
How transmission occurs
The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads primarily through close contact with an infected person. The main route is droplets from infected persons, e.g. through:
- saliva, coughing and sneezing
- direct personal contacts
- hands, e.g. touching the mouth, nose or eyes with contaminated hands (not yet washed)
In rare cases, infection can occur through fecal contamination.
Respiratory diseases are not normally transmitted through food.
According to currently available data, symptomatic persons are the most frequent cause of spread of the virus. It is thought possible that persons with absent or very mild symptoms may transmit the virus.
Who is a suspected case, a probable case, a confirmed case, a close contact?
How do I know if I have Coronavirus? Definitions are based on currently available information.
Suspected case of COVID 19 requiring diagnostic testing:
- a person with acute respiratory infection. Sudden onset of at least one of the following signs and symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Signs and symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath and no other etiology to explain the clinical presentation. History of travel to or residence in a country/area where local transmission is reported during the 2 p.m. days prior to the onset of symptoms;
- a person with an acute respiratory infection and who has been in close contact with a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms;
- a person with severe acute respiratory infection (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory illness, e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and requiring hospitalization. respiratory illness, e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and requiring hospitalization. With no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation
Probable case A suspect case is defined as a case that is inconclusive or inconclusive when tested for SARS-CoV-2.
Confirmed case A case with laboratory confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of clinical signs and symptoms.
Close contact of a COVID-19 case a person living in the same household as a COVID-19 case