If you are following news channels, you may have already noticed that almost all the people in China are wearing face musk. Because the new novel coronavirus symptoms are hammering over China from the beginning of the new year.

There is a valid reason for that. On 31st December 2019, a new case of coronavirus infection was identified in Wuhan in Hubei province in China. As of 3rd Feb 2020, the death toll rose to 361 and a little more than 17,000 people have been infected world wide. Moreover, around 12000 people are suspected to have the infection.

Besides, the virus already reached a handful of countries including the USA and the number is increasing. So what is the new Chinese novel coronavirus, and what are the major sign and symptoms you should know about.

What is a coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that commonly cause respiratory tract infection. Most of them are not lethal for humans.

However, in 2003, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in China and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in 2012 in Saudi Arabia proved its lethality. In fact, the new novel virus has been named as 2019-nCoV, already proving to be deadly since already 80 people have died.

Coronaviruses were first identified in the1960. However, the source is still unknown. They were named as for their crown-like appearance.

In January 2020 the World Health Organization declared new Chinese novel coronavirus is the newest member of this group. They named it 2019-nCoV. It is the latest and 7th strains of coronavirus that infect humans.

What are the sign and symptoms of novel coronavirus

The new coronavirus is not showing the same patterns of symptoms with the previous corona.

Nevertheless, this new virus is mostly causing lower respiratory tract infections. Nasal discharge and diarrhea as was in SARS are uncommon for this virus.

Those patients confirmed with novel coronavirus infection are complaining mildly to moderate illness. A study report published by The Lancet on 99 confirmed coronavirus infected patients shows, the most distinguished novel coronavirus symptoms are

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Muscle pain

However, there are some other less common symptoms depending on the individuals.

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Rhinorrhoea
  • Chest pain and vomiting

The report also outlined that 75% of the people developed pneumonia in both lungs.

According to the CDC, the coronavirus symptoms may appear within 2 days to 14 days of exposure. The estimation is based on what has been observed previously in the MERS incubation period.

However, the Chinese health authorities said in a statement that the incubation period for 2019-nCoV is 10-14 days.

In addition, a new report from the journal Lancet outlined that the new novel coronavirus is contagious even before the symptoms arise. That means an infected person who is yet to become sick can spread the disease.

In previous virus outbreaks such as SARS, MERS, or even ebola virus were not able to spread disease in the early stage.

That makes the new virus dangerous because you don’t know who should be isolated to prevent disease spreading.

How the new novel coronavirus spread

The way of transmission is still under evaluation. Nevertheless, it is widely believed that the virus first transmitted from seafood in the market place. The Lancet study says 49% of people had a history of visiting seafood market prior to the infection.

Since most of the people were not in the market, it is obvious that human to human transmission occurred. Many people both in China and in the outside world infected by direct contact.

Snake and bat soup also is thought to be the main culprit. However, the suspicion already lost its ground. Human to human transmission can occur like other coronaviruses.

  • Droplets of cough and sneeze by air
  • Close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching mouth, eyes, or nose without washing hand after contact with an object or surface that has viral particles
  • Rarely spread by fecal contamination

What are the treatment options for the novel coronavirus

Photo: CDC

There is no specific treatment available at the moment. Current treatment is based on symptoms that arise in a patient. However, a quick medical response will significantly improve conditions.

  • Rest and adequate hydration
  • Medication to relieve symptoms
  • Taking a hot shower and warm drinks will improve sore throat and cough

Who is at greater risk

Most of the people who died from this new Chines coronavirus are elderly population.

In addition, those who already have other respiratory diseases are at higher risk. Population with weak immunity such as children and older people may risk secondary infection.

Nevertheless, health professionals take great risks during any disease outbreak. They act as a first-line defense. Sadly, China has already confirmed the death of a doctor.

When to seek medical attention

Mild coronavirus symptoms are treatable at home. So if you think you have those symptoms you should isolate yourself at home. Cover the mouth when coughing and wash hands with sanitizer at least for 20 seconds before eating anything.

Ensure adequate rest and drink plenty of water. Take some over the counter drugs to relieve symptoms.

Avoiding hospitals for mild illness would be the best choice as hospitals sometimes play a vital role in spreading disease. In fact, maybe you are not suffering from this new deadly virus in the first place.

However, children, older and pregnant people should immediately seek medical treatment. People who are weak and have other diseases should visit doctors.

How can you prevent yourself from coronavirus infection

China is a global business hub. Therefore, millions of people traveling there and some of them may bring the virus unintentionally. A few small steps can save you from getting yourself infected with the new Chinese novel coronavirus.

  • Avoid the mass populated area
  • Use face musk when out
  • Don’t eat anything without washing hands
  • Avoid those countries with new virus infection
  • Avoid hospitals area
  • Try to avoid newly imported Chinese products
Categories: disease

Dr Mazharul Islam

Dr. Mazharul Islam acquired a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Sylhet MAG Osmany Medical College and trained in internal medicine at Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh. He is a practicing and motivated Medical doctor. He is exclusively working to eliminate superstitious belief from the society


Sufi · January 26, 2020 at 12:59 am

Thanks for information

Shakil · January 31, 2020 at 3:23 pm

Nicely written, Doctor…
Thanks for sharing.
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