Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.
People with coronavirus may experience:
flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
shortness of breath
Who is at risk
You are at risk of getting the virus if you have:
Had any plane travel within the previous 14 days
Been in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case of coronavirus
People of all ages can be infected. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) are more severely affected.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) factsheet for people aged over 65 years (Word document)
Coronavirus information for travellers arriving from mainland China, Iran, Republic of Korea and Italy
How it spreads
Initial human infections of the novel type of coronaviruses were acquired from exposure to animals at the live animal market in Wuhan, China. However, on 20 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed the novel coronavirus is spreading person-to-person.
The virus spreads through:
close contact with an infectious person
contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze
touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face
Close contacts of a person with a confirmed infection (such as people staying in the same house or sharing a closed space for a prolonged length of time) are most at risk of infection.
Read more: Information for casual contacts of a confirmed case
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). (CDC via AP)
The best way to protect yourself against infections is to practice good hygiene. This includes regular and thorough hand washing, preferably with soap and water.
Good hygiene also includes:
using a tissue and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
using a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily available
avoiding close contact with others, such as touching
refraining from touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Read more: Basic protective measures against the coronavirus
If you have flu-like symptoms or have had plane travel in the last 14 days or have had contact with suspected or confirmed cases of Coronavirus infection, please call our clinic at 03 9509 5922 to book a video consultation. Video consultations can be done via Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp or Line video call.
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