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Should we be concerned about the coronavirus?

Should we be concerned about the coronavirus?

Suddenly you read a lot about it in the media:the corona virus. A disease that has already claimed a number of victims in China. What exactly is this disease and should we be concerned in Europe?

The disease has now claimed nine victims and about 400 Chinese have been infected with the virus. But people have also been infected outside of China:infections have also been found in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the US, reports.

All the fatalities come from Hubei province. The metropolis of Wuhan is located there, where the first infections with the new virus occurred at the end of December. The victims probably contracted this virus there in a market where there were live animals. The market has since been closed and the Chinese government is currently investigating this virus and are looking for the exact source of infection. So not much is known about the disease so far. What do we know?

Read also: '5 questions about the Zika virus'

What kind of disease is the coronavirus?

You have probably heard of diseases like SARS and MERS before. These are also coronaviruses that can cause very serious complaints. For example, SARS is a life-threatening lung disease and MERS can cause serious health problems in people with health problems. The new coronavirus that has now emerged is a new variant that is now being researched. Not much is known yet about how you can get this disease. Two people are known to have been infected through another person. The virus does not appear to be easily transmitted from person to person. More than 700 people in the immediate vicinity of patients (for example family members) have not become infected.

What are the symptoms?

If you are infected with the new coronavirus, you are short of breath, you have a fever, you have to cough and you get pneumonia.

Can the virus come to the Netherlands?

According to the European Center for Infection Control (ECDC European Center for Disease Prevention and Control), the chance of spreading in Europe is small. Few people travel from Wuhan to the Netherlands, so the chance that the virus will come to our country via travelers is small.

The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) will meet in Geneva on Wednesday, January 22, for emergency consultations on the outbreak. The WHO must determine whether there is a 'medical emergency of international concern'. If so, there must be an international approach to the problem, such as with the Zika virus and the Ebola outbreak.

Can you travel to China?

For the whole of China now applies that you should avoid densely populated areas. That will be difficult, because it is almost Chinese New Year.

In general, you should avoid markets with live animals, wash your hands well, shower regularly, pay attention to how food is prepared. More general hygiene measures can be found here.

For more information about the new coronavirus, please contact RIVM., RIVM