They are the largest RNA viruses. They infect humans and animals which causes respiratory and enteric diseases. Coronaviruses causes about 1/3 of common cold and newly recognized Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome ( SARS).
Most people harbour anti-coronavirus antibodies but reinfected is common indicating that there are many circulating serotypes of the virus in the human population. Majoy outbreaks occur few years with a cycle that depends on the type of virus involved.
Coronavirus causes respiratory and enteric diseases in a variety of animals.
In humans, the major virus replication is the epithelial cells of the respiratory tract about 1/3 of colds are caused by coronaviruses.
• Running nose
• Sore throat
Symptoms may last for about a week with considerable variations between patients. Often there is no apparent symptoms but the patient still sheds infectious virus.
Transmission is by transfer of nasal secretions such as aerosols caused by sneezing or coughing.
Viruses affect the epithelial cells of the enteric tract and causes diarrhea.
The incubation period is 3 days
The viral spread is limited by the immune response of most patients but this immunity is short-lived.
Treatment, Prevention & Control
There are no treatments of SARS other than the management of symptoms. Drugs are underdevelopment. There are no vaccines against the SARS virus or other human coronavirus.
A major problem with the live virus vaccine is an antigenic shift and unpredictable outcomes.
How to protect yourself against coronavirus infection
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and running water.
• Thoroughly cook meats and eggs
• Use an alcohol hand rub or antiseptic when your hands are not visibly dirty
• Do not touch nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands
• Keep a distance of at least one metre from a person showing signs of fever, cough and difficulty in breathing.
• Be physically active, eat healthy, drink lots of fluids, have enough rest and reduce stress.
NB: Report immediately to the nearest healthy facility if you see any of the symptoms on yourself or a relative.