In China, a second person died of a new type of pneumonia: the main thing about being infected with an “unknown virus”

What is the cause of the disease and is there anything to be afraid of.

Photo Associated Press

On January 15, in China , a second person died from pneumonia of unknown origin . Two weeks before his death, the man was hospitalized with impaired renal function and serious damage to other internal organs. This is the second death from a new virus in China this year – on January 11, the first infected died.

The virus infiltrated two countries in the neighborhood, therefore quarantine services at airports have strengthened security measures – they measure the temperature of all passengers flying from China. Experts do not yet know how dangerous the virus is for humans and whether an epidemic of a new disease will begin.

The new type of virus is 89% similar to another disease that claimed the lives of nearly 800 people.

By mid-January, 59 cases were registered in China, seven of which are currently in critical condition. Reported cases in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan . All patients came from Wuhan.

Reports of the first cases of pneumonia in Chinese Wuhan appeared in December 2019. Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), local authorities found that the causative agent was a new type of coronavirus. Information provided by a group of Chinese scientists from the Shanghai Clinical Center for Public Health.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that infect animals and humans. The virus is transmitted from an infected animal to people, but it can mutate and then a person also becomes a carrier of infection. From person to person, the coronavirus is transmitted by airborne droplets.

Chinese scientists from the Shanghai Clinical Center for Public Health examined the genome of the new coronavirus and published a draft version of the research results. They encouraged professionals from all over the world to analyze data together. After that, evolutionary biologist Andrew Rambo of the University of Edinburgh reported that the new type of coronavirus is 89% similar to the SARS-CoV virus . In 2002-2003, he claimed the lives of about 800 people in 30 countries. SARS-CoV originated in the same region of China as the new virus.

Seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China, where most of the infected were working Photo Noel Selis

Of the 38 types of coronavirus, only seven of them, including the new one, are dangerous to humans. In most cases, the virus proceeds in a mild form, complications in the form of fever, damage to the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract and nervous system, up to the death , cause strains of SARS and MERS.

The head of the WHO new diseases unit, Maria Van Kerkkhove, said the virus registered in Wuhan can be transmitted by airborne droplets from person to person. To eliminate the risk of spreading the virus, all infected patients were treated in isolated wards. Doctors and relatives of patients are monitored.

Most of the infected visited or worked at the wholesale seafood market in Wuhan. In addition to seafood, chickens, bats, rabbits and snakes are sold there, so the source of infection has not yet been determined. From January 1, the market is closed for inspection and disinfection.

The past pneumonia epidemic began because of China’s reluctance to tell the world about a new disease

According to Mark Woolhouse, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, the virus appeared in China precisely because of its high population density and close contact with animal carriers of viruses.

In the same region of China, where a new virus was born, in November 2002, the first patients with SARS appeared. The Chinese authorities did not control the situation, refused to inform the world community about the epidemic of the disease. The first SARS-CoV case was reported in Asia in February 2003, and within a few months the virus spread to 29 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

The biggest problem in 2003 was China’s initial reluctance to explain what was happening. This allowed the flash to flare before someone realized how serious it was.Jim Leducformer virologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Then the Chinese government refused to let researchers from other countries into the epidemic area to identify the problem. American specialists at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention had to look for an alternative way to obtain a sample of the disease. In the end, they took a swab from the throat of a man who contracted pneumonia in Vietnam and died in Thailand. After that, the researchers found that the coronavirus SARS-CoV was the culprit of the epidemic.

Getty Images Photos

Identifying the cause of the disease allowed doctors to make accurate diagnoses. In July 2003, the SARS epidemic ended. During this time, more than eight thousand people all over the world fell ill with SARS, of which 774 died .

From China, the virus entered Thailand and Japan

From December 12, 2019, patients began complaining of high fever and shortness of breath in Wuhan clinics. By December 29, more than 50 such appeals were registered. Patients diagnosed with pneumonia were hospitalized, and then quarantined.

The first case of infection outside of China was discovered on January 8 in Thailand at a 61-year-old Chinese woman. A woman flew to Bangkok by flight from the Chinese city of Wuhan. Doctors found her a new type of coronavirus and hospitalized. Now the woman is in a stable condition.

The second infected was a resident of Kanagawa Prefecture. During a visit to Wuhan on January 3, he felt unwell: on January 10 he returned to Japan and complained about the well-being of the airport quarantine service. The man was hospitalized and revealed a new type of coronavirus, and on January 15 he was discharged without signs of illness. Patients in both cases claim to have not visited the market in Wuhan.

Photo by Andy Wong

Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea have taken precautions by isolating patients with flu symptoms and increasing temperature checks at their airports. The danger of the spread of the virus will increase in late January, when Chinese tourists travel during the holidays.

Since January 3, no new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded, but of the 59 previously infected, two died.

There is also no information about the infection of medical personnel in Wuhan clinics and there are no clear signs that the disease is transmitted from person to person. A month has passed since the first infection – this is not enough to say for sure whether a new type of pneumonia epidemic will begin.

According to virologist Jonathan Ball, the threat of coronavirus to humans has always been. This virus is easily transmitted from animals, but usually causes a slight malaise – it is worth fearing mutations.

We should worry about any viruses that enter humans for the first time, because they have managed to overcome the first main barrier. Once in a human cell and spreading further, they can begin to mutate.Jonathan BallVirologist from the University of Nottingham, Professor

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