How is the Coronavirus different to the flu?

How is it different to the flu?

Dr Senanayake said many people diagnosed with the coronavirus would feel like they had influenza.

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“Some people are getting a mild illness and it really varies, the symptoms will vary,” he said.

“Nearly everyone gets a fever. Lots of people but not all get a cough, runny nose, muscle aches and pains.

“Interestingly, a variable number of people get diarrhoea, which is of interest to me because it looks like this coronavirus has some of the same receptors as SARS, which target cells not only in the lungs but the gastrointestinal tract.

“SARS spread through faecal matter. We don’t know if coronavirus can spread this way as well.

“But in the US, they did isolate it [coronavirus] in poo. Odds on it is most likely it could [spread this way].”

In Australia, patients would be isolated in a single room and with their own toilet, which would not be the case in China where hospitals and medical professionals had been swamped.

Dr Mackay said his understanding was about 20-25 per cent of coronavirus cases in China were considered severe.

He said in the hundreds of cases outside China, the severity was “mild to very mild”, and there were more resources put into treating the affected patients.


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Immunity and our ability to fight off infection is considered another major difference between the flu and coronavirus.

Most people have developed some sort of immunity to the flu. But so far, that is not the case with coronavirus.

Professor Tania Sorrell, from the University of Sydney’s Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, said coronavirus appeared to be a winter virus.

“It is still too early to predict what will happen with this illness [after the Chinese winter],” she said.

“But we may find that as it goes on, and if it goes on for a long period, some immunity will develop in the community.”

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