Here are some facts you need to know about this:
- Eighteen people have been killed worldwide by this new virus. Thirty-four people have been infected.
- This novel coronavirus can cause severe pneumonia and also sometimes kidney failure. The common cold also belongs to the family of coronaviruses.
- It is not known whether bats, camels or goats are a possible source of infection. They are all being investigated. It is thought that this virus has been circulating among animals and might now have made the jump to humans.
- Many of the first victims had travelled to countries in the Middle East. These included Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan.
- There have also been cases in Germany, the UK and France.
- Most of the people affected by the virus have been older men, often with other medical conditions.
- Common symptoms include coughing, fever and breathing difficulties.
- It is possible that the virus is spread by droplets when people cough or sneeze.
- These viruses can only survive outside of the body for about a day and are easily killed by normal household cleaning agents.
- There is no vaccine to prevent the spread of this virus. It is very important to wash your hands regularly, as this helps to prevent hand-to-mouth transmission.
(Sources: WebMd.com, World Health Organization, BBC News)