Fever, cough and shortness of breath: In the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan at the end of December and beginning of January affected a number of people have lung disease, with initially unknown cause. In the meantime, the genome of the pathogen is decrypted completely: It is a Coronavirus, which appears to be passed from an animal to humans and now from human to human will. 2750 patients and 80 Deaths – this is the provisional balance of the 2019-nCoV, as experts call the pathogen now. Tendency: ascending. One of the reasons for the increasing numbers is that more and more people will be tested on the pathogen, also in the case of lighter symptoms.
Outside of China, there are approximately 40 confirmed cases, three of which were in France. This may sound like a threat, but so far there are no signs of secondary infections – so that the traveller more people could have been infected. Also deaths there were in other countries, so far, no.
Nevertheless, the messages come thick and fast to the pathogen, the news situation is extremely confusing. In the centre of the reporting, the question is: How easily the pathogen can be transmitted? And how dangerous is he? To these two questions, the first vague estimates, but only a few of the backed up data. What is not known? The four experts say.
How dangerous is the Coronavirus is?
An important clue to the danger of the pathogen to estimate, is the so-called “Case Fatality Rate”, so the mortality rate by the pathogen. The data from China should agree, is the Rate according to present knowledge “under one percent”, says Prof. Clemens Wendtner, Infektologe of Munich, clinic Schwabing. Wendtner interprets that as “good news”, because the mortality sun is currently significantly below that of SARS and MERS. The Coronavirus is genetically closely related to the SARS pathogen, that in the years 2002/2003, around 800 people died. The mortality rate of SARS was about ten percent, which meant that One out of every ten Patients died as a result of the pathogen. In 2019-nCoV, it is currently one of 100.
Add to that: Heavy heats seem to be mostly older, vorerkrankten people to act. “Of the 17 first-described death cases, 15 were over 60 years old, eight over 80,” says Prof. Bernd Salzberger, President of the German society for infectious diseases. “At least it looks so, as if in the case of younger people, the infection is mild. This is a good thing, because specific drugs, there is not. All we have to do bed rest, plenty of fluid and, where appropriate, support of respiration is supportive–.”
Will spread the pathogen?
The Chinese government is currently trying to prevent the further spread of the pathogen with drastic measures. In addition to the million metropolis of Wuhan where the first cases of the disease registered were – now almost the whole of Hubei province under quarantine. 56 million people are affected.
However, these measures are also useful? Researchers are currently trying to determine a key figure to be able to be the judge of that – the so-called reproductive rate of the 2019-nCoV. It gives an indication of how many other people infects an infectious Person and, in consequence, also, of how quickly the pathogen is spreading. However, this Rate varies currently, depending on the publication, for example, in the case of two or between three and five. A Person would be infected in these examples, two or up to five people.
The higher Numbers should agree, attributed to Prof. Clemens Wendtner in China and Southeast Asia, with many other infections. “Self-quarantine of many millions of people would weaken the spread is probably limited.”
Prof. Bernd Salzberger points out that the estimates were only preliminary, and “dramatically wrong” may lie. “For example, if the behavior of the people changes and they protect themselves better against infection.”
Also, Professor Jonathan Ball, Professor of Molecular Virology at the University of Nottingham, speaks of “early” findings. “I think these early data tell us that we need to gain a better understanding of what is really going on in China before. Especially how easily the Virus is spread, whether people can transfer with mild or no symptoms of the Virus, and of course, where the Virus originated at all,” says Ball. “I suspect that this kind of information from real life will be more valuable than modelling, and theoretical assumptions about the presumed course of the epidemic.”
Chinese experts such as the Director of the national health Commission, Ma Xiaowei, go out, meanwhile, that the pathogen is already during the incubation period, infectious. Infected would thus be contagious even when no symptoms are visible.
Can be the Virus to Germany dangerous?
Single, sick, travelers can, in principle, occur also in Germany, the majority of experts consider, however, an epidemic is unlikely. Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), holds the danger posed by the Coronavirus in Germany at the moment as “very low”, he said in the ZDF morning magazine. Germany was prepared to “absolutely good”. In particular, the German airports, through which the Virus could be introduced to Germany, be prepared for a “very good”.
Prof. Clemens Wendtner anticipate an occasional Import by infected people, looks good overall, but also a “no significant risk for Germany”. Currently, would also be taken to the hospital in Munich, where he works, precautions to be prepared. “To be honest, but I’m more confident that we will have a 99 percent false Alarm in the emergency rooms in Munich and in Bavaria. Then the classic corona virus case, with banal rhinitis is fast as a suspicion in the room.”
Wendtner instead refers to a real risk: currently circulating flu viruses. “For me it is a total amazing that in Germany, more than 20,000 Influenza Deaths appear annually in the public perception, less shocking, although even with a simple flu vaccine a lot of suffering and, ultimately, many of the deaths could be efficiently preventable.”
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