What You Need To Know About The Deadly Coronavirus

The outbreak of  deadly coronavirus in China has led to the death of nine people and left hundreds more infected.

The virus is centred on the city of Wuhan in central China, a transport hub with dozens of other cities.

With a population of 11 million, authorities are working to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Some cases have already been identified in other Chinese cities and overseas – including in Japan and the USA.

But what is coronavirus and how easy is it to become infected?

What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus is not a new virus. The illness affects most people at some time during their lives with symptoms of the common cold, such as a runny nose, sore throat or a cough.

Can coronavirus kill?

Typically it’s not the virus that can kill but secondary infections like pneumonia or bronchitis contracted by children or older adults with weak immune systems.

Coronavirus can develop into other more serious viruses, such as MERS and SARS. Data shows around a third of people contracting these illnesses die.

MERS is mainly confined to the Middle East and no SARS cases have been reported since 2004.

How is coronavirus diagnosed?

Doctors will confirm the virus with laboratory tests, often ordered if a patient is suspected of being infected with MERS.

How do you catch coronavirus?

The most common way to spread coronavirus is to cough and sneeze to make the virus airborne.

Shaking hands or touching another person or surface carrying the virus can put someone at risk of contamination.

Coronavirus is active all year, although the most common time to develop the virus is in the winter.

How is coronavirus treated?

Doctors have no vaccine that acts against coronavirus.

They advise washing hands frequently, covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing and throwing the tissue away straight away to reduce the risk of catching the virus.

Anyone suffering from coronavirus should stay at home until the infection subsides to prevent spreading the illness.

Other treatments are like those for the common cold, such having plenty to drink and taking pain killers to relieve the symptoms.

Why is the infection called coronavirus?

The name comes from how the virus looks under a microscope, with crown like spikes.