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Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

Author:  Frank R. Laurri, MD, FACP

Coronavirus is a common type of virus that causes respiratory infections, particularly in the winter.  The infections are often seen in epidemics and in an epidemic situation may cause patients to develop Pneumonia from the virus.  These patients are sometimes quite sick and often require hospitalization.  Most, however, suffer from a typical viral respiratory infection with fever, cough, fatigue and congestion, just like most viral respiratory infections that occur during winter. 

Recently a new Coronavirus, felt to be a mutation of the common Coronavirus, was discovered in China. It was first detected at the end of 2019 and since it’s discovery in Wuhan, China it appears to be spreading rapidly from person to person and daily there are more cases. There is a theory that the virus became mutated from a virus infecting animal that may have been consumed by people. This theory has not been proven. The infection has caused severe disease and is causing worldwide concern and causing some countries to institute quarantines. It has now reached the U.S. and we may start to see this new virus spreading here. There is no specific treatment for this infection and testing can only be done by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Treatment at this time is symptom directed, like all viral infections, with fluids, rest, and evaluation by your physician to rule out more serious complications. It is too early to know what impact this virus will have on our public health. There is emerging evidence that this virus can be spread person to person before symptoms develop. I will post again when more information comes out on the novel disease.

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