Snakes Believed To Be The Origin Of Wuhan Coronavirus Outbreak

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Coronavirus which has already infected hundreds of people and reportedly killed 17 people is now believed to be originated from snakes or Taiwanese Krait.

Written By Bhavya Sukheja | Mumbai | Updated On:

Coronavirus, which has already infected hundreds of people and reportedly killed 17 people, is now believed to be originated from Chinese Krait and the Chinese cobra. The newly discovered SARS-like virus that has triggered an outbreak of a deadly infectious respiratory illness in China was first reported back in December last year. The scientist now reportedly said that the original source of the virus is a snake, more specifically, the Taiwanese Krait or the Chinese Krait which is a highly venomous species of elapid snake found in much of central and southern China and Southeast Asia. 

According to international media reports, the virus has spread to Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tokyo, South Korea, Beijing, Shanghai, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Singapore. The mayor of the city of Wuhan has also urged citizens not to travel outside China during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday and the authorities have further issued a travel advisory warning in the backlash of coronavirus. The food market where the deadly virus surfaced, Huanan Seafood Market also came under scrutiny as Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese centre for disease control and prevention believe that the virus came from 'wild animals at the seafood market'. 

READ: Coronavirus Outbreak: WHO Puts Off Decision On Declaring A Global Health Emergency

The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organisation (WHO) also held a discussion over the viral outbreak, however, they are yet to decide whether to declare a global state of emergency regarding the disease or not. According to reports, the committee announced that they need 'more information' and will hold another follow-up meeting to discuss the outbreak. Director general of WHO, Dr Tedros said that the decision to declare the outbreak as an 'emergency' can not be taken lightly, hence, more conclusive evidence is needed. 

READ: China: Wuhan Mayor Asks Citizens Not To Travel Outside As Deadly Coronavirus Spreads

The mystery strain

It was WHO which confirmed several cases of a novel coronavirus outside China, which is of the same family as the deadly SARS virus. The UN health agency had said that the person travelling from Wuhan, China was hospitalised in Thailand and is recovering from the illness. According to the organisation, novel coronavirus is a new strain in the large family of coronaviruses (CoV) which was not identified in humans before.

CoV can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). CoV is zoonotic which means such viruses transmit between animals and humans.

READ: Death Toll In China's Coronavirus Outbreak Sharply Rises To 17

READ: Jakarta Airport Screens For Coronavirus

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