North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Coronavirus

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What is Coronavirus?

Human coronaviruses are common across the world. First identified in the 1960s, human coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause illnesses that can be mild, like a common cold, or severe, like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

Coronaviruses are common in a variety of animal species such as bats and camels. While it is rare for coronaviruses to mutate, becoming zoonotic and infecting, then spreading between humans. Recent examples of these zoonotic viruses are SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.

COVID-19: 2019 Novel Coronavirus

A new type of human coronavirus, COVID-19, has been identified in China, but additional cases have been identified in other countries. The first case in the United States was announced on Jan. 21. The Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are coordinating to monitor the outbreak and prevent the spread in the U.S. There are currently not confirmed cases of nCoV in Georgia. Visit CDC’s surveillance page to see the most recent case counts in the United States.

Healthcare providers who suspect 2019-nCoV infection in a patient should report them immediately to DPH by calling
1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584) and ask for a Medical Epidemiologist.

Methods of Transmission

Human coronaviruses are spread in ways similar to other viruses like the flu or norovirus. Common methods of transmission include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • close personal contact (shaking hands, touching, etc.)
  • touching a contaminated object or surface, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • handling waste of an infected person (this method is rare)

Coronaviruses are commonly spread during fall and winter, but they are active all year. 

Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms

Coronavirues can cause mild to severe symptoms in humans. Illness usually only lasts for a short amount of time. Symptoms are similar to a variety of illnesses and include:

  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being ill

The virus may lead to lower respiratory tract illnesses like pneumonia or bronchitis. This is more common in older adults, infants and people living with chronic conditions. Always contact your healthcare provider if symptoms persist or become more severe.

Persons who have traveled from China in the past 14 days and have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing should seek medical care, and should contact their healthcare provider and inform them of their travel history before going in.

Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to protect against human coronoviruses, nor are there any specific treatments. You can take actions to treat the symptoms:

  • use pain and fever medicines
  • ease a sore throat with a room humidifier or hot shower
  • stay hydrated
  • stay home and rest
Protection & Prevention

Protect Yourself

There is no vaccine to protect against human coronavirus. You can take steps to protect against the virus:

  • wash hands often with soap and hot water
  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
  • avoid contact with people who are ill

Protect Others

You can help reduce the risk of human coronavirus transmission. If you have cold-like symptoms: 

  • stay home while you are sick
  • avoid close contact with other people
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing
  • wash hands regularly
  • disinfect surfaces and objects

Travelling to Active Human Coronavirus Areas

It is recommended to practice enhanced precautions if you are travelling to active human coronavirus areas, especially for older adults, infants and those with comporomised immune systems. 

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