(Reuters) – The spread of a new coronavirus in mainland China and to 27 countries and regions beyond is alarming health experts. Here is what we know – and do not know – about the virus:
HOW DANGEROUS IS THE VIRUS?
The coronavirus family of viruses includes the common cold and more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Many of those with the new virus who have died had pre-existing medical conditions or were elderly, those with weakened immune systems.
Coronavirus infections have a wide range of symptoms, including fever, cough and breathing difficulties.
Statistics from China indicate that about 2% of people infected with the new virus have died, suggesting it may be deadlier than seasonal flu but less deadly than SARS, which killed about 10% of infected individuals. The MERS outbreak in 2012 had a fatality rate of about 35%.
Scientists have labeled the new virus 2019-nCoV.
HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED AND HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED?
The virus can be transmitted via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes, and can also spread via contaminated surfaces such as door handles.
Experts have said…
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