Recently, a virus that originated from Wuhan, China—the Wuhan coronavirus (also known as 2019-nCoV)— spread across Asia, from China, Thailand, South Korea and even the United States. Now, netizens are affected as the said virus is rumored to have reached the Philippines. But according to the Department of Health (DOH), there is no confirmed Wuhan coronavirus case yet in the country.
“Until now, we have no verified case,” Health Undersecretary Rolando Domingo said in a briefing, referring to the new coronavirus called 2019-nCov, as stated in a report by CNN. The samples sent to an infectious disease laboratory in Australia from a five-year-old patient in Cebu City tested negative for the infection.
Globally, scientists, researchers and investigators have yet to fully comprehend the destructive potential of 2019-nCoV, and are just beginning to figure out where it originated, how it’s transmitted and how far it has spread.
About the Wuhan coronavirus
The virus is said to have originated in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, a Chinese city about 650 miles south of Beijing that has a population of more than 11 million people. As case numbers in China and abroad increase, authorities hypothesize that human-to-human transmission is possible.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus is a large family of viruses that can cause illnesses, such as the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory Syndrome. These severe diseases could cause respiratory illness in humans as the virus is zoonotic—so it can easily be transmitted between animals and people.
Virologist Leo Poon, a scientist based in School of Public Health at The University of Hong Kong and the first to decode the virus says in a report by CNN, “it causes pneumonia, and doesn’t respond to antibiotic treatment.”
“The virus initially appeared to spread only by very close contact such as hugging, kissing, or sharing eating utensils,” said Dr. David Heymann, the chairman of a WHO committee that is gathering data on the virus.
Now, he said evidence is accruing that shows more distant contact could spread the virus, such as if a sick person were to sneeze or cough near someone else’s face. While there’s no evidence at this point that the virus is airborne and could be spread across a room, authorities advise everyone to take extra health precautions.
How to safeguard your family
As we await confirmation if the virus has really reached Philippine shores, it’s important that we are prepared. Here are some ways you can safeguard your health from the Wuhan coronavirus according to DOH:
• Regular, and proper, handwashing with a trusted germicidal soap and warm water to help protect you, your family and others against the risk of infection. It is advised to wash with soap and water for at least 40 to 60 seconds. If soap and warm water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be used. Make it easy for your loved ones to remember proper and effective handwashing with a simple mnemonic and instructions below.
A germicidal soap includes antimicrobial ingredients. These ingredients fight bacteria and fungi, which are microbes that can cause a range of illnesses from skin infections to pneumonia. Handwashing with a trusted soap like Safeguard is able to remove 99.9 percent of germs. Safeguard is a cost-effective and easy measure to help prevent the spread of viruses or diseases.
• When coughing or sneezing, completely cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or a sleeve or flexed elbow.
• Avoid close contact when you are experiencing fever and cold, or flu-like symptoms.
• Thoroughly cook meat and eggs.
• Avoid unprotected contact with live wild and farm animals.
Safeguard yourself and your family now. If your child or family members are showing these symptoms, it is also recommended to visit your nearest health center or family doctor.