Coronavirus disease, identified 2019, in Wuhan, China. It is genetically similar to the virus that causes SARS, but has caused more widespread/global complications. Most infected patients develop symptoms in 2 to 7 days, but the incubation period ranges from 0 to approximately 14 days. The majority of infected patients have mild cold and flu symptoms, however between 5 and 10 percent of patients develop pneumonia, and a smaller percentage, about 2%, succumb to respiratory failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The mortality rate of the disease is about 1-2%, approximately the same as severe influenza. The highest mortality rates are in senior citizens and people who have other ongoing, or chronic illnesses.
Early symptoms of the illness include fever, cough, sore throat, chest discomfort, fatigue, and body aches.
Each infected person appears to spread the disease to 2 or 3 others. The disease can also be contracted from contact with infected animals. Health care workers are at risk of the disease and should follow appropriate infection control procedures to protect themselves from infection.
Laboratory studies in infected people typically reveal abnormally low lymphocyte counts and elevated levels of C reactive protein. Formal diagnosis is made with a polymerase chain reaction (real time, reverse transcriptase PCR) test among other tests.