A coronavirus such as SARS or MERS is a virus that often causes symptoms similar to a cold. While some are serious, most are not. To prevent catching a coronavirus, take precautions such as washing your hands and staying away from others who are infected.
A coronavirus is a kind of common virus that causes an infection in your nose,sinuses, or upper throat. Most coronaviruses are not dangerous.
Some types of coronavirus are serious, though. Several people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in Saudi Arabia and other countries. People also died from a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003. Both MERS and SARS are caused by coronaviruses.
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There is an old proverb that states, "Life is in the breath. He who half breathes half lives." If you have allergies, asthma, or other breathing problems, this proverb may sound very familiar. But a greater understanding of your breathing problems, along with an accurate medical diagnosis and effective treatment, can help you regain control. It doesn't matter what type of breathing problem you have. Daily control is vital to living an active, productive life.
Usually, though, a coronavirus causes common cold symptoms that you can easily treat with rest and over-the-counter medication.
What Is a Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s, but we don't know where they come from. They get their name from their crown-like shape. Sometimes, but not often, a coronavirus can infect both animals and humans.
Most coronaviruses spread the same way other cold-causing viruses do, through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.
Almost everyone gets a coronavirus infection at least once in their life, most likely as a young child. In the United States, coronaviruses are more common in the fall and winter, but anyone can come down with a coronavirus infection any time.
Common Symptoms of Coronavirus
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper-respiratory infection, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and sometimes a fever. In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.
You could get lab tests, including nose and throat cultures and blood work, to find out whether your cold was caused by a coronavirus, but there's no reason to. The test results wouldn't change how you treat your symptoms, which typically go away in a few days.
But if a coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract (your windpipe and your lungs), it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people, people withheart disease, or people with weakened immune systems.
What to Do About Coronavirus
There is no vaccine for coronavirus. To prevent coronavirus infection, do the same things you do to avoid the common cold:
· Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
· Avoid close contact with people who are infected.
You treat a coronavirus infection the same way you treat a cold, too:
· Get plenty of rest.
· Drink fluids.
· Take over-the-counter medicine for sore throat and fever (but don't give aspirin to children; use ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead).
A humidifier or steamy shower can also help ease a sore and swollen throat.
Even when coronavirus causes MERS or SARS in other countries, the kind of coronavirus infection common in the U.S. isn't a serious threat for an otherwise healthy adult. If you get sick, treat your symptoms and contact a doctor if they get worse or don't go away.
Important differences between Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suggest that MERS won't prove as dangerous as SARS, researchers report.
MERS emerged last year in Saudi Arabia and nearly all cases of infection have been reported there, or in people who were infected with the virus there before traveling to other countries. Between Sept. 1, 2012, and June 15, 2013, there were 47 confirmed cases (46 adults, one child) of MERS infections in Saudi Arabia, according to the report published July 25 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
As of July 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there had been 90 MERS cases worldwide.
An analysis of clinical records, laboratory results and other data revealed that older people, men and patients with chronic health problems are more likely to succumb to the disease, the investigators said.
Like those infected with SARS, people with MERS have a wide range of symptoms. Most patients admitted to the hospital had fever (98 percent), chills (87 percent), cough (83 percent), shortness of breath (72 percent) and muscle pain (32 percent). One-fourth of patients also had gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Unlike SARS, however, nearly all of the cases of MERS occurred in people with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes (68 percent), high blood pressure (34 percent), chronic heart disease (28 percent) and chronic kidney disease (49 percent).
"Despite sharing some clinical similarities with SARS (e.g., fever, cough and incubation period), there are also some important differences, such as the rapid progression to respiratory failure, up to five days earlier than SARS," study leader Ziad Memish, the deputy minister for public health from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said in a journal news release.
"In contrast to SARS -- which was much more infectious, especially in health-care settings, and affected the healthier and the younger age group -- MERS appears to be more deadly, with 60 percent of patients with co-existing chronic illnesses dying, compared with the 1 percent to 2 percent toll of SARS," Memish said.
"Although this high mortality rate with MERS is probably spurious due to the fact that we are only picking up severe cases and missing a significant number of milder or asymptomatic cases, so far there is little to indicate that MERS will follow a similar path to SARS," Memish added.
Study co-author Ali Zumla, from University College London in the United Kingdom, said that "the recent identification of milder or asymptomatic cases of MERS in health-care workers, children and family members of contacts of MERS cases indicates that we are only reporting the tip of the iceberg of severe cases and there is a spectrum of milder clinical disease which requires urgent definition."
"Ultimately, the key will be to identify the source of MERS infection, predisposing factors for susceptibility to infection and the predictive factors for poor outcome," Zumla said in the news release. "Meanwhile, infection control measures within hospitals seem to work."
In an editorial accompanying the report, Christian Drosten, of the University of Bonn Medical Center in Germany, said there is an urgent need to develop accurate diagnostic tests to help focus efforts to control MERS and to minimize the risk of it spreading from infected patients to other people.
Many people wonder just how scientists know that the cause of SARS is a virus and, more importantly, this particular virus.
Public health scientists verified that a common virus -- a coronavirus -- that has become more severe as the likely cause of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Many people wonder just how scientists know that the cause is a virus and, more importantly, this particular virus.
In 1890, Robert Koch described the basis rules that scientists use to determine if an infectious organism causes a specific disease. These four rules are called "Koch's postulates."
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Important It is possible that the main title of the report Enterobiasis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.
1. The organism must be found in people with the disease and be absent in people without the disease.
2. The organism must be able to be grown from tissues or other specimens from the affected individual in the laboratory.
3. The organism must cause the disease when given to an unaffected healthy person.
4. The organism must again be grown from this second individual.
In the case of SARS, we know that the coronavirus had been found and grown from several individuals who have been sick with the symptoms of SARS -- thus fulfilling the first two of Koch's postulates. Because it would be unethical to expose people with the virus, public health scientists use a science called epidemiology to prove that only people exposed to the virus have gotten the infection. This technique relies on interviewing and studying groups of people who have gotten ill and comparing them with people who have not come down with the disease. Investigators then assume the disease would occur if a person were exposed to the disease. They then look to see if newly unintentionally exposed people come down with the disease and that organism is grown from them. This fulfills in principle Koch's third and fourth rules.
In the case of SARS, scientists have clearly shown that the virus is associated with people with the disease and the virus has been isolated from these patients. The epidemiology also shows that the disease occurs in people who are exposed to the disease more often than people who have not been clearly exposed to the disease. Finally, the virus has been grown from the people who were subsequently exposed. In addition, scientists can use animals to demonstrate these last two rules by exposing the animal to the coronavirus and see if it causes a disease like SARS.
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2. World Health Organization (2003). Summary of Probable SARSCases With Onset of Illness From 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003. Available online: http://www.who.int/csr/sars/country/table2004_04_21/en/.
3. Loutfy MR, et al. (2003). Interferon alfacon-1 plus corticosteroids in severe acute respiratory syndrome: A preliminary study. JAMA, 290(24): 3222–3228.
4. Hayden FG and Ison MG (2006). Respiratory viral infections. In DC Dale, DD Federman, eds., ACP Medicine, section 7, chap. 25. New York: WebMD.
5. World Health Organization (2004). WHO guidelines for the global surveillance of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Updated recommendations, October 2004. Available online: http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/WHO_CDS_CSR_ARO_2004_1/en/index.html.
6. Eun-Hyung Lee F, Treanor JJ (2010). Viral infections. In R Mason et al., eds., Murray and Nadels Textbook of Respiratory Medicine, 5th ed., vol. 1, pp. 661–698. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
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