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A hot topic on everyone’s mind as international travels are being restricted and reports continue coming in is the coronavirus and how the coronavirus is contagious to humans? Because it is such a rare phenomenon for coronavirus to become zoonotic (that is, for it to be transmitted from an animal to a human), and because it has caused over 300 total deaths since affecting humans, people are becoming concerned and spreading fear without knowing the facts of the disease. But what is a coronavirus and where do they come from? How is the disease spread? How does it present in humans? And, most importantly, just how dangerous is it?
It’s uncommon for the virus to transmit from one species to another, but when it does, coronavirus can infect humans as well. When this happens, it’s known as a zoonotic virus, transcending whatever species-based limiters the virus originally had. Once a human has contracted the disease, symptoms include many of the same presentations as the flu or a common cold.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it may be best to see your doctor about being tested for both the flu and coronavirus. The virus is highly contagious, so be sure to consistently wash your hands and utilize hand sanitizer while you’re out and about, especially if you know you’ve come into contact with an infected person showing symptoms thus realizing how the coronavirus is contagious to humans.
For the most part, coronavirus is going to be just as dangerous to humans as the common cold: not very. It will typically self-resolve without the need for further treatment, although those with weakened immune systems or respiratory problems may require anti-inflammatories to ease respiratory inflammation or antibiotics to suppress the virus.
Additionally, those with weakened immune systems are much more likely to contract bronchitis or pneumonia because of the virus. Those who have died from the virus likely suffered from worsened symptoms due to already being sick or otherwise having weaker immune systems.
According to the World Health Organization, the two strains of coronavirus that have previously proven to be deadly were Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both of these involved significantly more severe respiratory symptoms in the infected, but SARS also included intestinal infections and kidney failure.
The vast majority of current cases of human coronavirus fatalities have taken place within China. It has been named the Wuhan Coronavirus and only a small handful of people with compromised immune systems have lost their lives to it outside of China. For most, this disease will likely present as a common cold, possibly with some intestinal issues. See your doctor if you’ve begun to present symptoms just to rule out anything more serious, then treat it as you would other cold or flu-related illnesses and limit contact with other people until you’re healthy again.
A coronavirus is an incredibly infectious virus that most often causes intestinal disease in animals, most commonly dogs and cattle (canine and bovine coronavirus, respectively). The canine coronavirus infection itself is typically an intestinal virus that begins in the small intestine and causes severe diarrhea over the course of a few days before resolving itself without treatment in most cases. However, because the symptoms of diarrhea, depression, vomiting, and loss of appetite are also often seen in more serious diseases such as canine parvovirus and canine distemper, it’s good to have your dog texted to rule out the more serious diseases if you notice these symptoms.
There is also canine respiratory coronavirus, which causes respiratory problems similar to the common cold. The virus was first discovered in dogs with acute respiratory syndrome in England in the early 2000s but has since been found in other European countries and Japan. More recently, it was discovered that more than half of the dogs tested for canine respiratory coronavirus in the United States and Canada showed antibodies for the virus, which leads us to believe that they’d had the disease at some point in their lives.
If you feel as though you are experiencing similar symptoms associated with the coronavirus, do not hesitate to visit the nearest Village Emergency Center near you. At Village Emergency Centers, we have a full staff of board-certified physicians ready at a moment’s notice. No matter the time of day, have confidence you’ll receive expert care without the wait.