The disturbing news out of China seem not to demolish: In the population-rich state, a lung disease spread, caused by a novel Virus, which probably originates from animals. Most of the cases have so far occurred in the 11-million city of Wuhan in individual cases also in surrounding countries such as Thailand and South Korea. 300 confirmed infections and six Deaths, there is, as yet, and experts expect further Ill. Observers had been great concern that the number of Infected has risen sharply. What is the reason?
The star spoke to the virologist Prof. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of Hamburg’s Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for tropical medicine on the pathogen.
In China, a Virus is rampant – the number of confirmed cases is now at 300. In reporting the speech of a “mysterious” Virus. Prof. Schmidt-Chanasit, what is known about the pathogen?
Actually, the Virus is not so mysterious. It is a Coronavirus, which is closely related to the well-known Sars pathogen related. The Chinese scientists have been able to characterize the Virus relatively quickly, its genome has already been sequenced. These are all important steps to be able to Tests on the pathogen develop – and are now also developed. Of course there are open questions. For example: Is the said – to put it crudely – a bad Virus? Or a rather harmless pathogens? It looks currently that the mortality due to the pathogens is particularly high. By the Sars Virus, for example, one out of ten Infected died. In this Virus, the mortality rate seems currently to be rather low, for example, to be one of 100 or one out of 1000 Infected. What we also know already is that the Virus can be transmitted from person to person.
How can you imagine such a Transfer?
By droplet infection. An example: A Sick is in the hospital, coughing a lot and have to throw up maybe. If Doctors and nurses are not adequately protected and with these secretions come in contact, you can infect yourself. Currently, we don’t know yet how well this Transfer expires. There are viruses that can be very easily transmitted, measles, or chickenpox. In the case of other viruses – such as Ebola – you need to be more exposed to infect.
The Virus is a Coronavirus. What is this virus known?
Corona virus is a large virus family, which occurs worldwide, especially in animals. Thus, there is a high degree of variability, that is to say: There are many different corona viruses and sometimes they are successful, from animal to human spreads. These viruses are then referred to as zoonotic viruses, including Ebola and Lassa Virus. A pathogen causes infection in humans, it is for researchers of great interest, whether or not the Virus is spread from person to person and how well he succeeds. If the pathogen manages, and the origin of the virus is eliminated, would be over the outbreak relatively quickly.
The Virus seems to be from an animal market in the Chinese city of Wuhan. What animals were sold there?
Actually, it is a fish market where seafood is sold. We do not currently expect, however, that this Virus originates from sea animals, fish, or other animals, but rather from mammals, such as bats. You can assume that on the market not only fish but also other animals were traded. There may also be outside the market animals, for example, the marten, the spread of the pathogen. It is striking that not all the Infected are actually been on the market.
The number of confirmed infections rose by leaps and bounds to around 300. An unusual development?
No, this is not unusual. Tests have been developed, in addition to China, also at the Charité, and these are now increasingly used. This not only tested severely ill patients, but also people with milder symptoms. This explains the sudden increase of infections. Where more is tested, there are also more diagnoses.
Experts suspect that far more people could be infected – the speech is of a minimum of 1700 Infected. What explains the difference between the number of confirmed cases, and the supposedly high number of unreported cases?
Figures like these are based on modelling. And specifically, this modelling was made on the basis of the infections that have occurred outside of China. The adoption: for example, Before a case occurs in Thailand, there must be significantly more cases than previously known. And based on that, then made calculations.
Is, in principle, also expect a spread in Europe and Germany? Or do you consider this unlikely?
That depends now very much on how well the Virus transmits from person to person. To this data we will have to wait. The Virus should be transmitted very well, it is quite conceivable that the Virus occurs in Europe. The question in this case is: Would that be bad? At the Moment there are six confirmed deaths, the mortality seems to be due to the number of Infected is rather low. And corona viruses there are in the world, in this country. The are quite normal pathogen. It’s Nothing Dramatic.
There are protective measures that can be taken, should be the Virus but more dangerous than previously thought?
Germany would be prepared in such a case, very good. We can diagnose suspected cases in the corresponding laboratories and patients quickly, isolate and treat. In addition, there must be no further arrangements are made.
The Virus to be closely related to the Sars causative agent-a Virus with a relatively high mortality. It may be deduced that the Chinese pathogen is more dangerous than other viruses?
Mysterious Lung Disease
Virus in China: a sudden increase in cases
No, you can’t. Also when this close relationship exists, can result in single mutations that this Virus behaves significantly different. We must now wait and see what state the epidemiological data from China.
In China, the new year is coming up this weekend, festival – hundreds of thousands of people travel across the country. Experts expect an increased spread of the Virus. Is that realistic?
Yes, definitely. If the human-to-human Transmission works well, is expected to further spread, especially in Asia.
In Thailand previously, individual cases have been reported. You are yesterday came back from there and had visited the research facilities. What is your impression of site?
The colleagues in Thailand have reacted very well, the Virus is well diagnosed and directly to the WHO reported. Similar to the situation in Japan, South Korea and China. In contrast to the Sars outbreak, the long time silence, the now works well. Nothing has been missed.
You are a virologist. To track the current outbreak of a particularly exciting or he belongs rather to the day to day business?
There is talk from time to time of novel viruses. But they are not really “new”, but new is only that they are, for the first time occurred in the population. So we have to do on a regular basis. Nevertheless, such an outbreak is not, of course, exciting, you know, how All will develop. With a view on the current Figures, but I am more relaxed than some time ago. Scenarios with Thousands of dead in Germany, I think, is covered.
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