What is COVID-19?

On the 31 December 2019, the world Health Organization (WHO) reported a cluster of Pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, china. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 ( SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of what we now known as ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’. Since then, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, Including south Africa.

Who is most at Risk?

Currently, Travellers to areas where there is ongoing sustained transmission of COVID-19 including Mainland China ( all provinces) Hong Kong, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Italy, and the Islamic Republic of Iran are at greatest risk of infections.

Furthermore, the elderly, individuals with co-morbidities and healthcare workers have been found to be at a higher risk of death.

How is it transmitted?

While the first cases probably involved exposure to an animal source, the virus now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. The spread of the disease is thought to happen mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread.

Thus far, the majority of cases have occurred with close physical contact to cases and healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever.

How is COVID-19 treated?

Treatment is supportive oxygen for patients with shortness of breath or treating a fever. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections; however, antibiotics may be required if a bacterial secondary infection develops.

How can you prevent the infections?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay at home when you are sick and try and keep a distance from others at home
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the bin
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces