Infection

Learn How To Detect The Common Signs And Symptoms Of Coronavirus Infection

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Symptoms and Signs of 2019 Novel Coronavirus

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus which was initially detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China has been the main topic among the health authorities and the public all over the world. The new coronavirus is a different type of virus under the Coronaviridae family which has been responsible for the previous pandemics such as SARS in 2003 and MERS-Cov in 2012. Coronavirus is a virus that can spread through water droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person.

The symptoms and signs are therefore mainly presented with respiratory symptoms. This made diagnosing and detecting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus a bit challenging since most of the symptoms are very vague, indicating anything from influenza infection to bacterial pneumonia or tuberculosis. This is why besides focusing on the symptoms and signs, the healthcare workers also need to screen people with high-risk factors such as those who have been travelling to or from Wuhan or China for the past 2-3 weeks.

The 2019 novel coronavirus incubation period, which is the time taken for the first symptom to manifest itself after a person contracted with the virus, is thought to be within 14 days. This means that an infected person can have no symptoms or signs for as long as 14 days and may be able to spread the disease within that time. Here are the symptoms of 2019 Novel Coronavirus:

  1. Fever - It is not a specific symptom only for 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection as you might already know. Fever can be caused by numerous medical conditions such as infection, pain, cancer and many others. Fever can appear as early as 3-5 days after a person contracted the virus but may be ignored by many if the fever is not too high.
  2. Cough - As with other respiratory viruses like the influenza virus, patients with 2019 Novel Coronavirus are also typically presented with cough as the virus can infect the respiratory tract and cause irritation.
  3. Shortness of Breath - This is a result of lower respiratory tract infection or pneumonia. Shortness of breath cannot occur if the infection only resides on the upper respiratory tract such as the nose and throat. This is one of the important symptoms to note about people with high-risk of 2019 Novel Coronavirus infection.
  4. Body Ache - The mechanism is not known, but it can be due to multiple factors such as anaemia (low red blood cells), low blood pressure or due to acute nature of the infection like the influenza infection.
  5. Sore Throat - Sore throat is uncommon and not a major symptom for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
  6. Headache - Some patients may have this symptom while there is no definite answer to explain why it happens.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus is a serious public health matter and if yourself or anyone you know have the symptoms listed above together with risk factors such as having close contact with people/tourists from China or have been travelling to/from China for the past 2-3 weeks, you should report to your nearest healthcare provider straight away.

Written by: Dr Sashini Seeni

MBBS (Melaka-Manipal)

1 Feb 2020
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