The world's coronavirus outbreak has continued to spread globally reaching much of Western Europe, Iran, South Korea and the US. While the virus is still being studied by health authorities around the globe, here are the chief symptoms, as outlined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
While the virus is still being studied, there are a number of common symptoms being displayed by those who've been infected. WHO says typical symptoms include:
- Respiratory symptoms
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Breathing difficulties
In more serious cases, symptoms can also include:
- severe acute respiratory syndrome
- Kidney failure
The coronavirus has now been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation. The virus, which originally broke out in China, has now been linked to 361 deaths with more than 17,000 confirmed infections in China alone. Closer to home, 12 people in Australia are now confirmed to have caught the virus. Authorities are urging people not to panic, but there are some simple steps you can take to prevent its spread.
How is it any different from other flus or colds?
If you read the symptoms list and though it sounds like every cold or flu you've ever had, you're not wrong. WHO itself acknowledges the symptoms are quite typical of other viruses and even some bad colds.
"People with 2019-nCoV infection, the flu, or a cold typically develop respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough and runny nose. Even though many symptoms are alike, they are caused by different viruses. Because of their similarities, it can be difficult to identify the disease based on symptoms alone. That’s why laboratory tests are required to confirm if someone has 2019-nCoV," WHO said.
What should I do if I have coronavirus?
Here's the official advice from WHO:
"As always, WHO recommends that people who have a cough, fever and difficulty breathing should seek medical care early. Patients should inform health care providers if they have travelled in the 14 days before they developed symptoms, or if they have been in close contact with someone with who has been sick with respiratory symptoms."
In Australia, confirmed cases have reached just over 100 with more than half of that figure being located in Sydney.
It's hard for authorities to give people clearer guidance on when you should suspect coronavirus, other than those who might have been in contact with someone who's been confirmed to have it or if they've recently visited or returned from area most affected by the outbreak — mainland China, Italy, South Korea, Iran, the US and other countries in Western and Southern Europe.
Until then, you should use the hotlines available in Australia if you suspect you could be affected before making the trip to the local hospital. If you do determine you need to get checked out, ensure you call up your local healthcare provider first to make sure you follow any quarantine guidelines.
This article has been updated since its original publication.
The World Health Organisation has declared coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In Australia, only nine cases have been confirmed and there's been no evidence of human-to-human transmission. If you're concerned you might be affected by the virus, however, a number of hotlines have been set up in addition to websites. Here are the numbers you can call.