The fatal Wuhan coronavirus, that originated in China, is transferrable from human-to-human. Medical workers as well as civilians are among those who have contracted the disease.
It is believed that this strain of coronavirus is spread similarly to other cold-causing viruses: through infected people coughing and sneezing, by coming into contact with/ touching an infected person’s hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs after an infected person has touched it.
On Tuesday, January 21 officials confirmed six people have died from the virus and over 200 cases of the disease have been reported. The disease has spread from China, with reported cases in Japan, Thailand and South Korea, with the latest reports saying a man in Australia has been quarantined with symptoms.
The virus causes symptoms of viral pneumonia, however officials have stated that patients with other underlying health conditions are somewhat more vulnerable to the disease.
Coronaviruses are essentially a group of virus that cause respiratory infections in humans. These range from the common cold, to severe acute respiratory syndrome, to Middle East respiratory syndrome. According to Independent, the Wuhan coronavirus is the seventh known to infect humans.
The disease is believed to have originated in a seafood market in the central China city of Wuhan.
On January 19 the latest victim, a 89-year-old man, succumbed to the disease after developing symptoms and being admitted to hospital for underlying health problems a few days earlier, on January 13.
Zhong Nanshan, head of the Chinese government expert team, says two people in southern China’s Guangdong province reportedly caught the disease from family members.
One of the medical workers infected with the virus is also in critical condition and the disease is reportedly spreading to more cities in China including Beijing and Shanghai.
As concerns regarding the spread of the virus mount, stringent checks are being implemented at airports with medical officials in hazmat suits checking passengers on planes.
Experts are highly concerned regarding the outbreak as Wuhan is a travel hub and the disease can easily make its way out of the city and into neighbouring countries or even further to those overseas.