Residents of Lagos State have been warned by the local authorities to be extremely cautious while maintainig physical contact with other persons (e.g. shaking hands), as the deadly Coronavirus can be transmitted easily from an infected person to another.
According to the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, the virus can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing, as well as close contact (such as touching or shaking the hands of an infected person), and, moreover, touching one’s mouth, nose or eyes after having been in contact with contaminated objects or surfaces.
The commissioner explained that human Coronavirus usually causes mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses and can progress to severe respiratory illness and pneumonia — particularly in the aged, young and already ill people.
“There is no specific treatment for illnesses caused by Coronavirus. Most people with the virus will recover on their own and they may require supportive treatment which includes staying at home, resting and drinking a lot of fluids. However, those that progressed to severe distress will need to be admitted into the hospital for specialized care,” he said.
Dr. Idris noted that the risk of infection of the virus can be reduced if people observe a high standard of personal and environmental hygiene by often washing the hands with soap and water; not touching the eyes, nose or mouth frequently; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; ensuring that objects used by the sick are sterilized; and avoiding being in an overcrowded place.
The significance and economic impact of coronaviruses as causative agents of the common cold are hard to assess because, unlike rhinoviruses (another common cold virus), human coronaviruses are difficult to grow in the laboratory. Coronaviruses can even cause pneumonia.
In 2003, following the outbreak of Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS; officially named the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV)), over 8,000 infection cases were recorded , about 10% of which resulted in death.
In September 2012, what is believed to be a sixth new type of coronavirus was discovered in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The World Health Organisation update on 28 September 2012 said that the virus did not seem to pass easily from person to person. However, on May 12, 2013, a case of contamination from human to human in France was confirmed by the French Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. In addition, cases of person-to-person transmission have been reported by the Ministry of Health in Tunisia. So far there have been twenty-two cases and ten deaths in eastern Saudi Arabia.