What are coronavirus infections?Coronaviruses are a group of common viruses. They are named for the crown-like spikes on the surface of the virus. Some coronaviruses only affect animals, but others can also affect humans. Most people get infected with human coronaviruses at some time in their life. This usually causes mild to moderate upper-respiratory infections, like the common cold. But they can also cause more severe illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
- There are several different types of human coronaviruses, including the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) viruses.
- Novel coronavirus (also called 2019-nCoV) is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans. Health authorities have identified new coronavirus cases in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in early January 2020. We are learning much more about it.
- Health authorities have identified new coronavirus cases in China, South Korea, Thailand Japan, Taiwan, the United States, and Australia.
How are coronavirus infections spread?Human coronaviruses usually spread from an infected person to others through
- The air by coughing and sneezing
- Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
- Rarely, feces (poop)