Coronaviruses (CoV) is a large family of RNA viruses, 7 of which are known to cause disease in man. They typically affect the respiratory tract presenting with illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome(MERS), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome(SARS-CoV), a name which was given to avoid stigmatisation.
It has been known to infect animals but was not of any serious significant medical importance in humans until the outbreak of a new strain referred to as the novel Coronavirus-19(nCoV-19). The first case of nCoV-19 was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China reported to the World Health Organization on the 31st of December, 2019 and the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern on the 30th January, 2020.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, that is, transmitted from animals to man. SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to man, while the MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to man. The novel nCoV is reported to be transmitted from bats and pangolins to man but this is still being studied.
The novel coronavirus nCoV-19, also known as beta-coronavirus causes the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2.
So far (as of March 4th 2020), several other cases have been reported worldwide. Coronavirus Disease-19(COVID-19) has currently spread to 65 countries but only three African countries have reported confirmed cases of the disease including Nigeria, Senegal and Algeria. With China being the epicentre, 93,574 cases have been reported with 3,204 deaths and 51,059 cases who recovered from the illness(Worldometer.info as at 11:30am GMT 4th March 2020)
Locations with confirmed nCOVID-19 cases worldwide: World Health Organization – March 4th 2020, 11am ET.
The first case reported in Nigeria reported on Friday, 28 February 2020, in Lagos, is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan, Italy to Lagos, Nigeria on the 25th of February 2020. He was confirmed for the disease by the virology Laboratory of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, as part of the Laboratory Network of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. As at today, the patient is currently clinically stable with no serious clinical symptoms and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.
It is a zoonotic infection transmitted from bats humans. Other animals have also been implicated as noted in the epidemiology above. Human to human contacts has remained to the commonest route since the first outbreak in December 2019. It is airborne, that is, transmitted via airborne droplets from the respiratory tract of an infected patient.
The following are some risk factors for the transmission of the disease:
Contact with a suspected case
Males are significantly more affected
Signs and Symptoms
It has an incubation period of 2-14 days after which symptoms begin to appear. These include:
Shortness of breath
Difficulty breathing not explained by any other illness
Prevention and Treatment
There is currently no vaccine for preventing COVID-19(Coronavirus disease-19). Prevention is by avoiding exposure to the virus from infected animals or humans. The Centre for Disease Control(CDC) recommends the following preventive measures:
Avoid close contact with people at risk
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Stay home when you are sick
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard in the trash
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
Use of facemask, however not recommended for healthy people without symptoms
Facemasks should be worn by health workers and people with symptoms
Handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
When soap and water are not readily available, wash hand with an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
CDC Preventive measures for coronavirus spread
The Nigerian Case
The first Nigerian case became the first coronavirus case in the sub-Saharan region. Following the diagnosis, suspected contacts were traced out and quarantined but they were declared not infected. Thus, making it only one coronavirus case in Nigeria as of 4th March 2020.
Following the confirmation of the first case, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, in the publication of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control(NCDC) encourages Nigerians to maintain a healthy hand and respiratory hygiene. He further reiterated the preventive guidelines emphasizing hand washing, avoiding contact or inhalation and early reporting of suspected cases to the NCDC toll-free phone number- 0800-970000-10
Treatment is largely supportive. There is no definitive cure or vaccine and prevention remains the mainstay. This is aimed at avoiding exposure with infected people or fomites(contaminated objects).
Coronavirus disease is fast spreading globally and the number of new cases has risen considerably above those being recorded in China from where it was originated. It is worth noting affectation of the lower respiratory tract is what causes the pneumonia-like symptoms seen in the disease. Below is a video about the disease since the onset of the illness in China.
I am a seasoned writer, not because I am some genius but thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I curate the most content on this website; all geared towards making you a better and happier audience.