Latest Strain of the Coronavirus

“The most difficult aspect of this new virus to diagnose is the geographic area of its exposure,” said Dr. Arun Kumar, a microbiologist at the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine in New York City. “However, it is certainly not the first time that the public health community has struggled with emerging infectious diseases.”

At the beginning of January, an American man who had traveled to West Africa began experiencing coughing fits. He was diagnosed with the illness, which then spread across the country and eventually into the United Kingdom. His symptoms are similar to those associated with the common cold or the common cold, but he died, probably because of the infection’s complications.

One of the biggest concerns surrounding the coronavirus is its ability to potentially cause severe complications. Although the researchers are investigating the possibility of the virus causing lung damage, it is likely to remain asymptomatic for weeks or months. “A cough that starts and develops in a short amount of time could be related to a seasonal flu-like condition,” Dr. Arun Kumar said.

“An ailment strikes us unexpectedly,” Kumar said. The good news is that this kind of infection has become relatively common and therefore more common treatments are available.

As many as 35 percent of children and young adults have experienced some kind of respiratory tract infections over their lives. The problem with childhood illnesses is that many doctors are now well aware of how to treat them. “Children seem to be less contagious than adults, so if a cough that starts in infancy develops into pneumonia, then the disease is more likely to be mild, requiring antibiotics rather than hospitalization,” Kumar said.

Although this respiratory infection is not contagious, individuals who are incubating the virus may develop symptoms such as fatigue, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, chest pains, fever, chills, rash, bleeding, and liver and kidney failure. To be on the safe side, people who experience these symptoms should seek medical treatment immediately.

Because the virus is not yet fully understood, there is no cure for the illness, but the condition can be managed with antiviral medications or daily medication as is advised by the patient’s doctor. For some people, the symptoms can improve enough that they are able to return to work. Others are too ill to return to work.

Individuals who live in areas where the virus has been seen often suffer from difficulty breathing and when the virus has been shown to affect humans for a long period of time, symptoms may include the immune system collapsing. There is also concern that the virus is infectious and can easily spread within an entire community. “The only way to prevent transmission is to prevent people from being infected,” Kumar said.

While the strain of the virus that caused the man’s death has similarities to measles and rubella, there are concerns that the infection could be more serious than either of those illnesses. According to Dr. Lisa Campanelli, a microbiologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, there is some reason to believe that the virus has the potential to cause certain cancers. “The underlying basis for concern with the coronavirus is that it causes no symptoms at all,” she said.

A strain of the coronavirus known as EV-D68 was responsible for causing the epidemic of meningitis, diphtheria, and pertussis in the United States in the 1970s. Since then, the disease has had a resurgence, and it is becoming more apparent that public health officials need to better understand the disease. According to Dr. John C. Pendleton, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the American Diphtheria and Pertussis joint statement are a good first step, but it does not answer the question of whether the virus can lead to life-threatening diseases.

“If these strains are introduced into a community, the outbreak can be so widespread that it will spread rapidly, in the sense that all the communities affected are made to feel like the epidemic is prevalent everywhere in the United States,” Pendleton said. “This might overwhelm the disease.” And, he added, it also makes it difficult to trace the virus’s origins, making it hard to find cures for the disease.