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Myths and truth about coronavirus: where you can take a special test and how to protect yourself

The world is sounding the alarm: more and more cases of coronavirus infection are being recorded in different countries. And few people know that the first time the coronavirus was isolated from a patient with acute rhinitis was in 1965. Some talk about the epidemic, others urge not to panic. Professor specifically for Passion.ru I answered the most popular questions about this old new “infection”. We also remembered the main protection measures that will help you protect yourself from the disease.
At the end of February, about 89,000 cases were reported, 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 3000 people, so prevention measures (and at the same time, the rules of behavior in this situation) will be very useful. 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. For example, recently a Russian who arrived from Italy was confirmed to have a coronavirus, Interfax reports with reference to the operational headquarters for fighting 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 a polyclinic with symptoms of SARS, from where he was sent immediately to an infectious hospital.” At the moment, the patient is isolated, and the people with whom he communicated are under medical supervision.

In addition to China, the virus is most widespread in Iran, South Korea and Italy, so Rospotrebnadzor recommended that our compatriots refrain from traveling to these countries, and Rosturizm 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 prevention measures will help protect against this disease.

Myth: there is a real panic in China
Alas, this is not a myth. 15 cities have been quarantined in China. Planes of the Russian aerospace forces will evacuate Russians from the infected territories of the middle Kingdom within a few days. Who has declared an international emergency. Meanwhile, the number of victims of the coronavirus has exceeded 350 people. And if we are not yet officially talking about the epidemic, then the panic among the population-definitely Yes. In the same Chinese city of Wuhan, there are roadblocks everywhere, people are not allowed to go to neighboring regions, there are far fewer passers-by on the streets and they are all masked…

And while the society is seized with hysteria about the fact that this virus can be cured with salt solution or Chinese tea and that it is spreading along with bananas and parcels from Aliexpress, the Russians themselves are wondering: can we not 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 the packages or their contents can pose a danger to human health.

Myth: all infected people die
Of course not, not all of them. A young healthy body is more likely to overcome the strain. Many of the people who die are over the age of fifty and suffer from chronic diseases. The mortality rate at the moment is 2.2% (170 cases). More than 88 thousand contacts have been tracked, and almost 82 thousand people are under surveillance. However, this is only the beginning of the outbreak (not yet an epidemic!), making a forecast is problematic. The results of the measures taken in China will not be visible until mid-February, and in the meantime, 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, and 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 more often mammals, less often birds. It is important to remember that after the end of an outbreak or epidemic, the virus does not disappear into nowhere, but continues to circulate in its natural reservoirs. In other words, coronaviruses are not new.

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

When did the coronavirus actually 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 an outbreak of atypical pneumonia (severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)) was recorded in China in 2002-2003. At the beginning of the epidemic, local authorities in China hid cases of mass infection with the SARS-CoV virus, the virus spread to 37 countries. More than 8,400 people became ill, of which about 800 died (9.6% fatality rate).

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

Another” gift ” was given by coronaviruses in 2012 in the Arabian Peninsula, then in 2015. first in Korea, and then in 23 other countries, a new disease was diagnosed —middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV). The standard symptoms — muscle aches, fever, and coughing — were supplemented by stomach aches and diarrhea. In contrast to SARS, the mortality rate was higher — from 27% to 43%. Again, no specific treatment was developed. Several experimental vaccines have been reported under 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 of infection is caused by a new coronavirus 2019-nCoV (temporary name assigned by who on 12 January 2020), which is recombinant between a bat coronavirus and a previously unknown origin of the coronavirus. Its genetic research has shown 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 detected 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 who came in contact with patients are described.”

Symptom of illness

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

fever,
cough dry or with a small amount of sputum,
muscle pain,
fatigability,
chest tightness 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 disease can occur easily, like a common cold, and can be severe — with the development of pneumonia with or without respiratory failure, ARDS, infectious and toxic shock and sepsis. Severe disease with a high mortality rate, according to China, is registered in 25% of infected 2019-nCoV”.

How is the virus diagnosed?
“Several test systems, including Russian ones based on the polymerase chain reaction method, have been developed to confirm the diagnosis in patients and examine contact persons. Basically, a smear 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?

“Not yet. Several countries have reported that work has begun on creating a vaccine, but it will not be possible to create it in less than six months.

In Shanghai, medical staff use a two-component antiviral agent in the form of an aerosol, sprayed into the oral cavity before entering the quarantine zone. Report a positive therapeutic effect in the first days of the disease. In Russia, there are two drugs with direct antiviral action, the effectiveness of which against coronaviruses is shown in vitro (not in vivo!)”.

Can I get sick again?

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

How do I protect myself?
Rospotrebnadzor also told about anti-epidemic measures taken in connection with the spread of the coronavirus and stressed that the majority of cases of the disease occur in a mild form and only 10.1% – in severe.

If you find yourself with symptoms of the disease (cough, high fever, weakness, conjunctivitis, possibly diarrhea), do not self-medicate, and urgently consult a doctor. Currently, all centers of hygiene and epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor in 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:

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