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Researchers trace coronavirus outbreak in China to snakes

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Emerging viral infections—from bird flu to Ebola to Zika infections—pose major threats to global public health, and understanding their origins can help investigators design defensive strategies against future outbreaks. A new study provides important insights on the potential origins of the most recent outbreak of viral pneumonia in China, which started in the middle of December and now is spreading to Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and Japan. The findings are published early online in the Journal of Medical Virology.

 

The study notes that patients who became infected with the virus—which is a type of virus called a coronavirus and was named 2019-nCoV by the World Health Organization—were exposed to wildlife animals at a wholesale market, where seafood, poultry, snake, bats, and farm animals were sold.

 

By conducting a detailed genetic analysis of the virus and comparing it with available genetic information on different viruses from various geographic locations and host species, the investigators concluded that the 2019-nCoV appears to be a virus that formed from a combination of a coronavirus found in bats and another coronavirus of unknown origin. The resulting virus developed a mix or "recombination" of a viral protein that recognizes and binds to receptors on host cells. Such recognition is key to allowing viruses to enter host cells, which can lead to infection and disease.

 

Finally, the team uncovered evidence that the 2019-nCoV likely resided in snakes before being transmitted to humans. Recombination within the viral receptor-binding protein may have allowed for cross-species transmission from snake to humans.

 

"Results derived from our evolutionary analysis suggest for the first time that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir for the 2019-nCoV," the authors wrote. "New information obtained from our evolutionary analysis is highly significant for effective control of the outbreak caused by the 2019-nCoV-induced pneumonia."

 

An accompanying editorial notes that although the ultimate control of emerging viral infections requires the discovery and development of effective vaccines and/or antiviral drugs, currently licensed antiviral drugs should be tested against the 2019-nCoV.

 

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Reefa

Here Are The Symptoms of The Wuhan Coronavirus, According to a New CDC Warning

The deadly Wuhan coronavirus, officially called 2019-nCoV, has killed 17 people and infected at least 554 others in China as of Wednesday. The US confirmed its first case, a man in his 30s in Washington state who had visited China, on Tuesday.

 

Scientists are still scrambling to fully understand the virus, which they confirmed this week could be passed from human to human.

 

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released guidance for healthcare professionals on the symptoms of the virus.

What to look out for

According to the CDC, a person could be at risk if they have:

 

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  • Fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing, after travelling to Wuhan or having close contact with someone who was ill and is now under investigation for the virus in the past two weeks.
  •  
  • Fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness after having close contact in the past two weeks with someone who's been confirmed to have the virus.

 

The CDC defined "close contact" as being within about 6 feet (1.8 m) "or within the room or care area" of a person with the coronavirus for a prolonged period without appropriate protective clothing, or "having direct contact with infectious secretions" of a person with the virus without protective clothing.

 

The agency said close contact could include "caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room" with a person with the virus.

 

The CDC said that if you have travelled to Wuhan recently and feel any of these symptoms, you should "seek medical care right away," call ahead to tell your doctor about your travel and symptoms, and avoid contact with other people.

 

People in the US who meet these criteria should be evaluated for the virus and their case reported to their state health department, it added.

Who is at most risk?

Coronaviruses like 2019-nCoV are particularly dangerous for people who have weaker immune systems, like young children and older adults.

 

There are no vaccines to protect people from contracting a coronavirus. Pets are also at risk of catching coronaviruses, which can lead to disease and even death.

 

The source of the Wuhan virus outbreak was identified as a market that sold seafood and live animals like wolves and civet cats. The Chinese government closed the market on January 1.

How to protect yourself

Here are the CDC's and other healthcare experts' suggestions for how to protect yourself from the virus while travelling:

 

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  • Try to avoid contact with people who display symptoms similar to those of pneumonia or the common cold, like coughing or a runny nose.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when possible.
  • Avoid animals and animal markets.

 

The World Health Organisation is set to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday on whether to declare the outbreak a global health emergency.

 

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Reefa

China quarantines city of 11,000,000 after coronavirus outbreak

 

Wuhan city, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, is shutting down outbound flights and trains, according to Chinese state media.

 

The state-owned People’s Daily newspaper said in a tweet that no one would be allowed to leave the city starting at 10am local time on Thursday and that train stations and the airport will shut down, as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virus.

 

The outbreak has killed 17 people so far, with more than 500 cases confirmed.

 

Other forms of public transport in Wuhan will also be shutdown within hours, with buses and ferries all to be suspended too..

 

Officials in China had asked people not to leave the city ‘unless there are special circumstances’, state media reported. The coronavirus is believed to have started in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, with illegally trafficked animals at a market being named as the likely source.

 

It comes after the number of deaths claimed by the outbreak almost doubled in just 24 hours.

 

Meanwhile the Foreign Office has advised Britons against all but essential travel to Wuhan.

 

There are fears the virus has already spread to the UK and the government has introduced extra screening to protect people from the spread of coronavirus

. ‘Enhanced monitoring’ will be put in place for all direct flights from Wuhan to Britain, the Department of Health has said.

 

This includes providing advice to travellers if they feel unwell and what symptoms to look out for.

 

All direct flights from Wuhan city to Heathrow will be subjected to enhanced monitoring.

 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said precautionary measures are being put in place after cases of the virus spread to other parts of the world.

 

There are three direct flights a week from Wuhan in China to Heathrow Airport, and under the new measures, planes will be taken to an isolated area of Terminal 4.

 

The captain of each flight will tell passengers during landing to let a flight attendant know if they feel unwell.

 

A statement from the DHSC said: ‘We have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan for some time and are ready to put in place proportionate, precautionary measures.

 

‘From today, enhanced monitoring will be in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK.

 

‘The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell.’

 

A handful of cases have been identified abroad, including in Japan and the US.

 

A spokesman for Heathrow said: ‘The welfare of our passengers and colleagues is always our main priority and we are working with the Government to support the implementation of enhanced monitoring measures as a precaution.’

 

What is the Coronavirus?

 

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The Coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. It is an airborne virus, spread in a similar way to colds and the flu. In an outbreak in 2003 of a similar virus, SARS, more than 900 people around the world were killed within weeks. What are the symptoms? Runny nose Headache Cough Sore throat Fever Shortness of breath If the virus spreads to the windpipe and lungs, it can cause pneumonia, with older people, those with heart disease and weakened immune systems most vulnerable.

 

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Abacaxi

Soon corona virus will be spread on the entire World ! Those that smoke have more fragility. This will be a big disaster.

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