Coronavirus: What it is and how it spreads

National and World

The virus can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness similar to a common cold

(CNN Newsource) – Coronavirus — an illness that has infected hundreds of people and killed 17. But what is it and how does it spread?

Wuhan coronavirus likely started in the Chinese city it’s named after and now it’s spread to the U.S. Officials are urging American travelers to “practice enhanced precautions.”

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses common among animals. In rare cases, they can be transmitted from animals to humans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also be spread between humans, according to a scientist appointed by the government.

CDC: Coronavirus – Situation Summary

The viruses can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness similar to a common cold.

Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, possibly a headache and maybe a fever, which can last for a couple of days.

While there’s no specific treatment, symptoms will go away on their own. Doctors can relieve symptoms by prescribing a pain or fever medication.

The CDC says a room humidifier or hot shower can help with a sore throat or cough. Drink plenty of fluids, and get lots of rest and sleep.

If symptoms feel worse than a standard cold, see a doctor.

Officials in China are racing to contain the Wuhan coronavirus by increasing the number of infrared temperature screening areas in public spaces.

The outbreak has spread to at least five countries, including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and now the U.S.

There are a handful of human coronaviruses that are known to be deadly, including Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, and severe acute respiratory syndrome, better known as SARS.

Right now, there are no vaccines to protect against this family of viruses but the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. are working on one to combat Wuhan coronavirus.

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