The mystery virus that initially emerged in China and hails from the deadly SARS family has made an entry in Japan. This is the second time when the novel coronavirus has been reported outside China. The first case was confirmed by World Health Organization (WHO) in Thailand.
As per Japanese health ministry, a man who had visited Wuhan in China which is the epicentre of the disease was hospitalized on January 10 which was approximately 4 days after his return. The disease symptoms include fever.
As per estimates, the outbreak has so far claimed 2 lives and infected more than 40 patients in China. Both cases reported outside China have some correlation with the seafood market, but the chances of human to human transmission cannot be ruled out yet.
What are Coronaviruses?
Coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses that cause sickness in people and animals such as camels, cats and bats. In rare cases, these can evolve and infect people and are later transmitted among them as seen in the case of MERS and SARS.
The etiological agent for the recent new coronavirus cases is a betacoronavirus which belongs to the same family as SARS and MERS.
Sequence of New Coronavirus
The sequence of the new virus seems to be similar to that causing SARS and it appears to be less pathogenic. The Chinese officials have uploaded the sequence at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/genbank/.
- Fever with difficulty in breathing.
- Chest radiographs may show invasive pneumonic infiltrates in both the lungs
Who is at Risk?
The Chinese authorities have indicated the correlation between the visit to seafood/animal markets and the disease which indicates a animal to human infection. There are also chances of human to human transmission. In such cases, travel to Yuhan (China) should be avoided if possible. In case of breathing issues and other symptoms, travelers are advised to seek medical assistance from the respective healthcare authorities.
Guide for Laboratory Testing:
The WHO has issued a laboratory testing guideline for the new coronavirus: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/20200114-interim-laboratory-guidance-version.pdf?sfvrsn=6967c39b_4&download=true .