Answered by: Dr Mohd Ramzdhan Bin Mohd Masdar
Updated on: February 7, 2020
Hi doctor, I am a concern Malaysian citizen. I post this question to you with the intention to understand more about the recent Coronavirus from Wuhan. Is it true that every Malaysian who has cough or flu need to see a doctor to get quarantined? I am very worried because I commute by public transport every day, literally 1 out of 5 of them will be coughing if not sneeze! How does the virus spread and how can I protect myself from this disaster? Help me out, doctor!
Despite the start of a brand new decade, it has not been any good news since then especially the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic across the globe, DoctorOnCall thought everyone should be equipped with basic knowledge of Coronavirus, so it will not be “mysterious” no more.
As an introduction, Wuhan outbreak is due to the new viral strain named as 2019 Novel Coronavirus, originated from the Coronavirus family which means they are the sibling of SARS and MERS-CoV. These siblings are known for no good and this new strain was initially thought to infect humans by ingestion of exotic animals such as bats and snakes. 2 patient zero are identified, sources revealed they are the long-time customer and hawker of an exotic market in Wuhan, China. Now, it has already set foot in 21 countries, with 7814 confirmed cases and 170 deaths as of 30th January 2020, 0020 UTC.
People may ask, how can this virus spread so fast? Although the route of transmission is not fully known, reliable sources postulated that human-to-human transmission may be via air droplets when the infected cough or sneeze, close contact with the infected or came in contact with virus-contaminated faeces. Hence, if you are not protected well at high-risk places, the chance of you getting infected is equivalent to you getting hit by water during the water festival.
This virus generally resides in the respiratory system so the manifested symptoms may be very general such as sore throat, dry cough, runny nose and fever. So how can one know that they need to see a doctor? According to the Guidelines 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCoV) Management In Malaysia, if a person manifests such symptoms and had a history of travel to or reside in Mainland China within 14 days; OR close contact with the diagnosed patient while the patient was ill, one should seek immediate medical attention. If left unattended, one may suffer from severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and eventually, death may occur.
So, what is our role as a responsible Malaysian to prevent the propagation of this disease? First of all, we should practise the correct technique of wearing the right mask, the 3ply or N95 mask. The correct technique is as below:
Other than wearing a mask, one should also:
Hope that things will get better throughout the year, but most importantly, DoctorOnCall wishes everyone the best of health.