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What is a corona virus?

Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

What is a novel corona virus?

A novel corona virus (CoV) is a new strain of corona virus that has not been previously identified in humans.

Can humans become infected with a novel corona virus of animal source?

Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans in China in 2002 and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Several known corona viruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. As surveillance improves around the world, more corona viruses are likely to be identified.

What are the symptoms of someone infected with a corona virus?

It depends on the virus, but common signs include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Can corona viruses be transmitted from person to person?

Yes, some corona viruses can be transmitted from person to person, usually after close contact with an infected patient, for example, in a household workplace, or health care center.

Is there a vaccine for a novel corona virus?

When a disease is new, there is no vaccine until one is developed. It can take a number of years for a new vaccine to be developed.

Is there a treatment for a novel corona virus?

There is no specific treatment for disease caused by a novel corona virus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated and therefore treatment based on the patient’s clinical condition. Moreover, supportive care for infected persons can be highly effective.

What can I do to protect myself?

Standard recommendations to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses include maintaining basic hand and respiratory hygiene, and safe food practices  and avoiding close contact, when possible, with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Are health workers at risk from a novel corona virus?

Yes, they can be, as health care workers come into contact with patients more often than the general public. WHO recommends that health care workers consistently apply appropriate prevention measures.