The novel corona virus is currently being reported in all media. Uncertainty is particularly great in sectors such as gastronomy and hotel business, where many people come together. But the greater danger lies in real influenza. An interview on the situation with Dr. Christoph Klaus.
Corona viruses (CoV) form a large family of viruses that can cause mild colds to severe pneumonia. Corona viruses include a. the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which first appeared in humans in 2012 and the SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). On January 7, 2020, a new type of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified in China (Wuhan region) that has never been detected in humans before. We have Dr. Christoph Klaus, GewR managing director of a pharmaceutical and disinfectant company, asked for our interview.
Gastro News Vienna: How dangerous is this new type of corona virus for us in Austria?
Dr. Christoph Klaus: At the moment, the danger of this virus appears to be significantly lower than that of related strains. MERS mortality was up to 30 percent and SARS was approximately 10 percent. The new corona virus is currently expected to have a mortality rate of up to three percent (as of February 12, 2020). Similar to seasonal flu from influenza viruses, v. a. older people and immunocompromised people are affected. Speaking of influenza: the danger of these viruses is ignored or underestimated. While not a single patient has been shown to suffer from the coronavirus in Austria, a few hundred patients will surely die from real influenza again this season. In some years, up to 2,000 people or more die from this virus in this country. Although particularly effective 4-fold vaccines are available, they are unfortunately poorly accepted. Employees should be vaccinated, especially in industries with a particularly high level of customer contact – such as gastronomy, hotels and tourism.
How does the disease express itself?
Common signs of infection with the novel corona virus may include: a. Fever, cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia and kidney failure to the point of death. It currently looks as if the course of the disease in the novel coronavirus is less severe compared to SARS and MERS. The virus is now also known as the “Covid 19 pathogen”. There is currently no vaccine and treatment is symptomatic only.
But as I said, there is currently no risk of infection by corona in Austria, since there is no case of illness that could act as a carrier, but the infection by the influenza virus is very high.
How can you protect yourself against corona viruses?
As with seasonal flu, the following measures are recommended:
- Hand disinfection with an alcohol-based disinfectant, especially when in contact with many people or after using public transport
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) if you cough or sneeze. By the way, disposable protective masks are not effective protection.
- Avoid direct contact with sick people.
Supermarket products usually do not show sufficient effectiveness, so it is essential to use a hand disinfectant from a specialist dealer or pharmacy! Incidentally, these are mixed with additional care substances so that the hands do not dry out, but are cared for at the same time.
Can the corona virus be transmitted from China through merchandise?
No, the virus does not remain stable on surfaces for a very long time, but requires a host (human or animal). The pathogen can be transmitted via door buckles, light switches or telephones if you cough or sneeze in your hand. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), the risk of transmission is over after about half an hour. That is why regular hand disinfection is also an effective measure.
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