A Mysterious Virus Appears In China

Jan 21, 2020 By Lauren T, Writer
Lauren T's picture

[Note: Article updated and re-published from Jan 15, 2020]

People wearing face mask in ChinaOn January 11, a 61-year-old man died from an outbreak of a mystery virus in Wuhan, China.

The virus appears to cause pneumonia-like symptoms, where the infected person’s lung air sacs become inflamed and they have difficulty breathing, fever, and chills.

A total of 59 cases had been reported initially. However, as of today, 300 people in China have been affected by the virus and five more deaths reported. The virus has spread beyond China to five other countries, including the first known case in the U.S state of Washington. 

Chinese officials and the World Health Organization (WHO) have identified the virus as a strain of coronavirus-- named 2019-nCoV.

What Are Coronaviruses?

Picture of a virusCoronaviruses, which get their name from their spiky halos as seen under a microscope, are a family of viruses that commonly affect mammals’ respiratory tracts.

Most coronaviruses affect animals, but seven, including the new virus, can be transmitted from animals to people. They are then spread through coughing, sneezing, or contact with an infected person.

One such virus in 2003, known as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), was transmitted from bats and civet cats. It infected 8,098 people in China and killed 774 people. Another virus—the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS —transmitted from dromedary camels and infected 2,494 people, killing 858.

Common symptoms of coronaviruses include fever, coughs, headaches, and runny nose, but symptoms like chills, body aches, and shortness of breath are signs of lethal coronaviruses.

The Wuhan virus is known to cause fatigue, dry cough, and difficulty in breathing. It has been linked to the region’s South China Seafood Wholesale Market, where live wild animals like bats, rabbits, snakes, and chickens were sold along with various seafood. The market has since been closed for disinfection and further investigation.

Actions Being Taken

Animal market in ChinaInternational experts have recently analyzed the virus and discovered it to be a group-2B coronavirus that is nearly 80 percent similar to SARS and likely transmitted to humans by bats.

The identification of the virus has enabled healthcare workers to quickly diagnose a patient in just 2-3 hours, from a lengthy 6-8 hours. With evidence that the virus can be transmitted from humans to humans, airports around the world are screening passengers arriving from Wuhan. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) is meeting this week to decide whether to declare the Wuhan virus as an international health emergency. They are warning people traveling to China to avoid animal markets and to not touch live animals or eat wild animals. 

With China gearing up for the New Year when nearly 1.4 billion people travel back home, the timing of this outbreak is concerning. However, the country is prepared to deal with the situation with ample amounts of masks and other protective gear as well as available isolation beds in hospitals. 

Sources: BBC, Washington Post, CNA, umn.edu


ClutchPebble55's picture
ClutchPebble55 January 31, 2020 - 7:59am
i live in crapville
jojo583's picture
jojo583 January 30, 2020 - 6:01pm
more than 106 people
jojo583's picture
jojo583 January 29, 2020 - 10:40am
I would be
Youngzine_LEARNER_2_9890's picture
Youngzine_LEARN... January 28, 2020 - 3:45pm
Really? I am so sorry for you. Do you know anyone that is sick? I live in La Jolla which is near LA. I can still travel though....
FireBall's picture
FireBall January 27, 2020 - 11:00am
bad news to me because a kid went to china and he is coming back and i don't want to go near him
Vicky's picture
Vicky February 7, 2020 - 6:45pm
He's not allowed to come back until after 2 weeks (when you know if he's sick or not), so there's no need to be rude
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger January 31, 2020 - 11:35pm
Well I don’t think that he will be able to come back either.
FireBall's picture
FireBall January 27, 2020 - 10:37am
bad news for my school
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger January 24, 2020 - 1:30am
that is not the only bad news. The bad news: nobody is allowed to go in or out even if it's new year.( there are some bad news for me because I live in China.)
Youngzine_LEARNER_2_9890's picture
Youngzine_LEARN... January 27, 2020 - 4:31pm
You do? Aren't you concerned?
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger January 29, 2020 - 3:37am
I am concerned, and it’s getting worse by the minute. 106 people has died.
Admin's picture
Admin January 29, 2020 - 9:06pm
Hope you and your families are safe. Hope you are enjoying reading Youngzine articles.
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger January 29, 2020 - 10:07pm
Well me and my family are safe at the moment.
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger January 31, 2020 - 11:34pm
But we can’t go out because we haven’t got enough breathing masks to waste.
smalltiger's picture
smalltiger February 2, 2020 - 5:39am
Well, in order to stop you worrying too much I'll tell you some good news and that is: my mom has bought some breathing masks BUT they will take about a month and a week to arrive .