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Coronavirus Q&A

Zoonoses are harmful microorganisms that can be passed from humans to animals and vice versa.  With the current coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China which has now spread to a number of countries there is great interest right in  what coronaviruses are and how they transferred from wildlife to humans. Here is some background information:

What is a coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a family of zoonotic viruses with human and multiple animal hosts(1). This include migratory wild birds (1). Bats are believed to be host of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) viruses (2,3,4) and the virus can pass through intermediary hosts such as horses, pigs, civets and primates (3,5).

What illness do coronaviruses cause in humans?
Coronaviruses cause upper respiratory infections in humans and is thought to be passed from person to person via aerosols i.e. in breath (2). That is why respiratory masks are believed to be an effective form of protection from the disease.

What human illnesses have been ca…

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