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Episode Info: Given that the coronavirus seems to be a major topic of conversation these days, we thought it would make for the perfect topic for our first edition of Pursuing Health Pearls. These are short, ideally 10-15 minute podcast episodes (although this one was a bit longer!) meant to offer succinct, high-yield info on common health concerns. You can listen to the episode in audio format, or you can read a more detailed write-up in the blog post below. In this article, well first shed some light on what coronavirus is, how it is transmitted, who is at highest risk, how we can decrease our risk, and what to do if you think you are infected. Then well talk some numbers about the scope of the outbreak and try to put it into context with other major public health concerns. Its important to note that our understanding of the coronavirus is evolving day by day. The information in this blog post and accompanying podcast are accurate as of this writing but will likely change with time. The information presented here has been gathered primarily from the CDC and WHO, and we recommend you use these as well as your state or local health department for the most up-to-date information as the outbreak continues to evolve. In this episode we discuss: What is COVID-19? What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How is it transmitted? How do I decrease my risk of infection? Who is at highest risk? Should I be worried about traveling? What should I do if I think I am infected? How big is this problem? Approaching chronic disease with the same concern as coronavirus What is COVID-19? Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in humans and in different species of animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. In rare cases, animal coronaviruses can infect humans and then spread through person-to-person transmission. Some previous examples of this include SARS-CoV (discovered in 2002 in China, which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS-CoV (discovered in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, which causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), both known to cause severe respiratory disease. Both of these viruses have been contained and to date, sustained global spread has been avoided. By now you likely have heard of the novel coronavirus which has been named SARS-CoV-2. The disease it causes has been named Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19 for short. The origin of the virus was likely animal-to-human transmission in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China at a large seafood and live animal market. Subsequently, person-to-person transmission has been confirmed and now cases have been identified in over 100 countries around the world. On January 30th, the WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.   What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to disease caused by other respiratory viruses. The most common symptoms include: Fever Cough Shortness of breath Other symptoms may include headache, muscle soreness, fatigue...
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