Coronavirus is a word that we have all heard mentioned lately.
What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can make us sick (animals too). Some coronaviruses cause mild illness, like the common cold, and others can make people very sick like SARS did several years ago.
A novel coronavirus is a new virus which means that it has not been seen before this outbreak occurred.
Why is a new virus bad?
New viruses can affect more people as no one has immunity to them.
Viruses are present in our communities all the time and because we have some exposure to them our immune system can build up some immunity to them so that we don’t get as sick and we recover faster. There is no vaccination for a virus that is new and there is no immunity to it present in our immune systems.
Is it likely that I will catch novel coronavirus?
Unless you have been to China this year or have come in to close contact with someone who has it is very unlikely that you will catch it.
How is novel coronavirus spread?
As with other viral illnesses it is spread by an infected person coughing or sneezing on someone else or on a surface that is touched by someone else.
How can I avoid catching coronavirus?
It is always important to have good hygiene to prevent the spread of this and other illnesses. This includes washing hands well with soap and water and coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow if you don’t have a tissue.
Can novel coronavirus be treated?
There is no treatment for this. Antibiotics do not work on viruses.
For more information visit the Australian Government Department of Health website