What is Coronavirus?

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

Initial human infections of the novel type of coronaviruses were acquired from exposure to animals at the live animal market in Wuhan, however on 20 January 2020 Chinese authorities confirmed that the novel coronavirus is spreading person-to-person, with medical workers in Wuhan confirmed to have contracted the disease from cases they had been treating. How easily the virus spreads from person-to-person remains unknown. 

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Common symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Severe cases can cause pneumonia, kidney failure, and even death.

Coronaviruses | How to reduce your risk of infection

  • ​Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
  • Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
  • No unprotected contact with live wild or farm animals

Source: WHO

Aust Gov Fact Sheet

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