Wuhan coronavirus symptoms clarified in new study

Credit: TomoNews US
Published on February 3, 2020 - Duration: 02:26s

Wuhan coronavirus symptoms clarified in new study

WUHAN, CHINA — A study published in The Lancet examined 99 of the earliest cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Science News reports that coronaviruses are one of a variety of viruses that can cause the common cold, as well as deadlier infections like SARS and MERS.

According to the Lancet study, the average age of infected patients was 55.

Sixty-eight percent were male, half already had a preexisting chronic disease, and 49 percent had a direct connection to the seafood market where the virus is believed to have originated.

Fever and cough were the two most prominent and consistent symptoms of the virus, with most of the infected displaying these symptoms on admission to a hospital.

Other patients exhibited shortness of breath, muscle aches, and headaches.

According to University of East Anglia Professor of Medicine Paul Hunter, the features and epidemiology of the Wuhan virus outbreak is similar to SARS.

The one big difference is a lack of upper respiratory symptoms like runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing, which can spread the infection.

By January 25, 31 of the patients in the Lancet study had recovered and been discharged, while 11 had died from the virus.

Most of the deceased were over 60 with pre-existing medical conditions, and died primarily from a critical form of respiratory failure called acute respiratory distress syndrome.

The study also found that similar to the SARS and MERS outbreaks, the virus had a higher infection risk to men than women.

Scientists hypothesized that women's reduced susceptibility to the virus could be due to protection from the X chromosome and sex hormones, which play a role in immunity.

According to China's National Health Commission, the novel coronavirus is contagious during its incubation period, before patients start showing visible symptoms. This incubation period lasts up to 14 days.

A case study recently published in The Lancet describes how a family in Shenzhen became infected with the virus after travelling to visit relatives in Wuhan, which verifies person-to-person transmission.

A child in the family remained without symptoms despite being diagnosed with the virus, which also suggests asymptomatic transmission is possible.

Because of this, researchers in the family study believe that to control the outbreak, patients need to be isolated, and those they came into contact with traced and quarantined.

It's likewise paramount that health workers comply with infection control, and the public be educated on proper food and personal hygiene.

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