The name coronavirus comes from the Latin word corona, meaning crown or halo. If you look at it with an electron microscope, the image of the virus looks like a solar corona.
There are many different kinds’ of coronavirus, and some of these viruses cause disease.
This newly identified type has caused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness now called COVID-19 that started in China.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.
Detailed investigations have found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans.
Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.
The novel coronavirus, however, identified by Chinese authorities recently and since named COVID-19, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans.
Little is known about it, although human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
Also avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
There’s no evidence that companion animals such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus as of now.
Like previous SARS viruses, Covid-19 transmits primarily through droplets of coughing, sneezing, saliva, or discharge from the nose.
While pets generate droplets quite easily, there are significant barriers for the virus to jump from humans to animals, and vice versa. In rare situations, when a pet carries the virus, it’s unlikely that it would spread to a person.
Knowing the science about how the virus transmits could help combat the abundance of misinformation amid the epidemic.
Just a few months ago when the daily death toll reached its peak in China, local officials of a village in Zhejiang province asked all residents to quarantine animals and slaughtered all stray dogs on the street. Another village in China made a similar rule to kill animals to contain the spread of the virus.
As more people start exercising social distancing and working from home, more frequent contact with your dog, cat or another pet is inevitable.
WHO advises washing your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. It’s the pet owners, rather than pets, that have a higher risk of spreading the virus.
This is an awareness to help you know more about this new coronavirus.
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