Merck Manual

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New Coronavirus Outbreak in Humans

Commentary
1/24/2020 The Manual's Editorial Staff

A new coronavirus, named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, has caused an outbreak of pneumonia in China. Coronaviruses are types of viruses that infect the respiratory system. They usually cause symptoms similar to those of the common cold. Although some, like the coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), are more likely to cause pneumonia.

Symptoms are usually mild and similar to those of a cold and include cough, a runny nose, sore throat, and possible a low fever. There is no specific treatment for this viral infection. Most people recover on their own. If more serious symptoms develop, pneumonia is treated.