Keeping things in perspective
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Unlike the AIDs virus that took more than two years to identify, the new virus took only ten days. We know:
A test to detect the virus has been available since January 13.
For several weeks now, the number of cases diagnosed daily is dropping.
From a very detailed epidemiological follow-up in other countries, we know outbreaks are very specific to areas and can be controlled easier.
There are 13 times more cured cases than deaths, and that proportion is rising.
The virus can be effectively cleared from surfaces. Use a solution of ethanol (62-71% alcohol), hydrogen peroxide (0,5% hydrogen peroxide) or sodium hypochlorite (0.1% bleach).
However, frequent handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to avoid contagion.
There are more than eight vaccine projects underway against the new virus.
Another vaccine group in Australia is working on a prototype using a novel technique called "molecular clamp."
There are over 80 clinical trials analyzing treatments for the new virus. These are antivirals that have been used for other infections, are approved and safe.
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According to health officials, tens of thousands of Americans die from the flu each year, while the new virus has far less infected.
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Older people and those with weak immunity are more susceptible to the virus. Children, who get infected severely by the flu are only showing mild or no symptoms to the new virus.
Flu infects far more people but there are vaccines for it. The new virus currently has no treatment or vaccination.
Current data for the severity of the virus shows that 80 percent have a mild infection, 15 percent had a severe illness and 5 percent critical illness.
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Transmissible diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gatherer days, but the shift to agrarian life 10,000 years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible.
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The earliest recorded pandemic happened during the Peloponnesian War. It passed through Libya, Ethiopia, and Egypt, and it reached Athens as the Spartans laid siege. Two-thirds of the population died.
The disease, suspected to have been typhoid fever, weakened the Athenians significantly and played a big role in their defeat by the Spartans.
It may have been an early appearance of smallpox that began with the Huns.
The Huns then infected the Germans, who passed it to the Romans and then returning troops spread it throughout the Roman empire. This plague continued until about 180 A.D., claiming Emperor Marcus Aurelius as one of its victims.
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