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Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:57 - Updated Tue, 24 Mar 2020 12:58

COVID-19, new Coronavirus

Photo: Divulgação

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

What is a new coronavirus?

The new coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified in humans. The new coronavirus, called Covid-19, was first identified in December 2019 in China, in the city of Wuhan.

Can humans be infected with a new coronavirus from animals?

According to the WHO, the human being has been contaminated from an animal, and studies are underway to determine, precisely, the animal in question.

Is Covid-19 the same as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome?

No. Covid-19 is not the same as SARS. However, genetic analysis shows that they are related.

How is it transmitted?

Covid-19 is transmitted by close or direct contact with people infected by the virus, through droplets released from the nose or mouth when people cough or sneeze, or through contaminated surfaces and objects.

Can domestic animals transmit Covid-19?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, have been infected and that, consequently, they can transmit Covid-19.

What is the group mostly at risk of getting sick from Covid-19?

People of all ages can be affected by the new coronavirus. However, older people or those with chronic illnesses (such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes or other illnesses) are the most vulnerable to serious illness when infected.

A study released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control indicates that 80% of cases of the infection are mild and only 4.7% are considered critical.

It is important to mention that transmissibility is very high, so we must maintain the social distance, that is, between people (at least 1 meter).

What are the signs and symptoms of Covid-19?

Infected people may experience signs and symptoms of acute respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, sneezing and difficulty breathing.

In more severe cases it can lead to severe pneumonia with acute respiratory failure, kidney and other organ failure.

What is the incubation period?

The average incubation period is 0 to 14 days.

Is there a vaccine?

There is no vaccine. As a recently identified virus, investigations are underway for its development.

Is there treatment?

There is no specific treatment for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated.

In this case, treatment is based on the patient's clinical condition.

In addition, for critically ill patients, supportive care can contribute to the improvement of the patient.

Are antibiotics effective for treating Covid-19?

Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, only against bacteria. Covid-19 is a viral disease and, as such, antibiotics should not be used for its prevention or treatment.

Using them will not work and may contribute to increased resistance to antimicrobials.

When should the specific diagnostic test for the new coronavirus be performed?

The specific diagnostic test is reserved for suspected cases of Covid-19, that is, for people with symptoms of disease and who in the previous 14 days were in a region affected by Covid-19 or where they were in contact with infected or sick people.

How can it be prevented?

Prevention essentially involves:

1) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, even if they appear clean;

2) Avoid close contact with people with fever, sneezing, cough or difficulty breathing;

3) When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue that must be discarded immediately or folded arm;

4) Do not share personal items, such as cutlery, plates, glasses or bottles;

5) Avoid crowds and closed environments

Is wearing masks recommended?

The use of masks is indicated for people with fever, cough or sneezing, professionals who care for people suspected of the disease or who provide services to the public.

As a traveler, what should I do?

For travelers returning from the affected areas and showing symptoms suggestive of illness, during or after the trip, before going to a health unit, if you are in Luanda or Benguela, call 111, informing them of your health condition and history on a trip.

If you are in another province, go to the nearest health facility.

When can a person be considered a contact?

Person with direct exposure to a patient with Covid-19, person who had contact with laboratory samples of the new coronavirus, visiting patients or person who remained in the same environment as the patient infected by the disease.

What is the lethality rate of Covid-19?

According to the WHO, Covid-19 is more lethal than the common flu, with a lethality rate around 3.5% (for the flu it is less than 0.01% to 0.08%).

What are the guidelines for visits to hospitals and elderly homes?

Visits to health facilities or elderly homes should be kept to a minimum to reduce the risk of transmission.