Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
Funded by The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Grant: 01MD19013D, Smart-MD Project, Digital Technologies
There is no vaccine for SARS to date. Isolation and quarantine remain the most effective means to prevent the spread of SARS. Other preventative measures include:
- Disinfection of surfaces for fomites
- Wearing a surgical mask
- Avoiding contact with bodily fluids
- Washing the personal items of someone with SARS in hot, soapy water (eating utensils, dishes, bedding, etc.)
- Keeping children with symptoms home from school
Many public health interventions were taken to help control the spread of the disease; which is mainly spread through respiratory droplets in the air. These interventions included earlier detection of the disease, isolation of people who are infected, droplet and contact precautions, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); including masks and isolation gowns. A screening process was also put in place at airports to monitor air travel to and from affected countries. Although no cases have been identified since 2004, the CDC is still working to make federal and local rapid response guidelines and recommendations in the event of a reappearance of the virus.
Several consequent reports from China on some recovered SARS patients showed severe long-time sequelae exist. The most typical diseases include, among other things, pulmonary fibrosis, osteoporosis, and femoral necrosis, which have led to the complete loss of working ability or even self-care ability of these cases. As a result of quarantine procedures, some of the post-SARS patients have been documented suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder.
There has been evidence of limited, but not sustained spread of MERS-CoV from person to person, both in households as well as in health care settings like hospitals. Most transmission has occurred "in the circumstances of close contact with severely ill persons in healthcare or household settings" and there is no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic cases. Cluster sizes have ranged from 1 to 26 people, with an average of 2.7.
Some details about how the disease is spread are still being determined. The WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say it is primarily spread during close contact and by small droplets produced when people cough, sneeze or talk; with close contact being within approximately 1–3 m (3–10 ft). Both sputum and saliva can carry large viral loads. Loud talking releases more droplets than normal talking. A study in Singapore found that an uncovered cough can lead to droplets travelling up to 4.5 meters (15 feet). An article published in March 2020 argued that advice on droplet distance might be based on 1930s research which ignored the effects of warm moist outbreath surrounding the droplets and that an uncovered cough or sneeze can travel up to 8.2 metres (27 feet).
Respiratory droplets may also be produced while breathing out, including when talking. Though the virus is not generally airborne, the National Academy of Science has suggested that bioaerosol transmission may be possible and air collectors positioned in the hallway outside of people's rooms yielded samples positive for viral RNA. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Some medical procedures such as intubation and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may cause respiratory secretions to be aerosolised and thus result in airborne spread. Initial studies suggested a doubling time of the number of infected persons of 6–7 days and a basic reproduction number (R0) of 2.2–2.7, but a study to be published on April 07, 2020 calculated a much higher median R0 value of 5.7.
It may also spread when one touches a contaminated surface, known as fomite transmission, and then touches one's eyes, nose or mouth. While there are concerns it may spread via feces, this risk is believed to be low.
The virus is most contagious when people are symptomatic; while spread may be possible before symptoms emerge, the risk is low. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says while it is not entirely clear how easily the disease spreads, one person generally infects two to three others.
The virus survives for hours to days on surfaces. Specifically, the virus was found to be detectable for one day on cardboard, for up to three days on plastic (polypropylene) and stainless steel (AISI 304), and for up to four hours on 99% copper. This, however, varies depending on the humidity and temperature. Surfaces may be decontaminated with a number of solutions (with one minute of exposure to the product achieving a 4 or more log reduction (99.99% reduction)), including 78–95% ethanol (alcohol used in spirits), 70–100% 2-propanol (isopropyl alcohol), the combination of 45% 2-propanol with 30% 1-propanol, 0.21% sodium hypochlorite (bleach), 0.5% hydrogen peroxide, or 0.23–7.5% povidone-iodine. Soap and detergent are also effective if correctly used; soap products degrade the virus' fatty protective layer, deactivating it, as well as freeing them from skin and other surfaces. Other solutions, such as benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine gluconate (a surgical disinfectant), are less effective.
In a Hong Kong study, saliva samples were taken a median of two days after the start of hospitalization. In five of six patients, the first sample showed the highest viral load, and the sixth patient showed the highest viral load on the second day tested.
The impact of the pandemic and its mortality rate are different for men and women. Mortality is higher in men in studies conducted in China and Italy. The highest risk for men is in their 50s, with the gap between men and women closing only at 90. In China, the death rate was 2.8 percent for men and 1.7 percent for women. The exact reasons for this sex-difference is not known, but genetic and behavioural factors could be a reason. Sex-based immunological differences, lesser prevalence of smoking in women and men developing co-morbid conditions such as hypertension at a younger age than women could have contributed to the higher mortality in men. In Europe, 57% of the infected individuals were men and 72% of those died with COVID-19 were men. As of April 2020, the US government is not tracking sex-related data of COVID-19 infections. Research has shown that viral illnesses like Ebola, HIV, influenza and SARS affect men and women differently. A higher percentage of health workers, particularly nurses, are women, and they have a higher chance of being exposed to the virus. School closures, lockdowns and reduced access to healthcare following the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic may deferentially affect the genders and possibly exaggerate existing gender disparity.
Middle East respiratory syndrome is caused by the newly identified MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a species with single-stranded RNA belonging to the genus betacoronavirus which is distinct from SARS coronavirus and the common-cold coronavirus. Its genomes are phylogenetically classified into two clades, Clades A and B. Early cases of MERS were of Clade A clusters (EMC/2012 and Jordan-N3/2012) while new cases are genetically different in general (Clade B). The virus grows readily on Vero cells and LLC-MK2 cells.
Viral pneumonia occurs in about 200 million people a year which includes about 100 million children and 100 million adults.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus strain that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness. It is colloquially known as the coronavirus, and was previously referred to by its provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is contagious in humans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Because the strain was first discovered in Wuhan, China, it is sometimes referred to as "Wuhan virus" or "Wuhan coronavirus". Since the WHO discourages the use of names based on locations such as MERS, and to avoid confusion with the disease SARS, it sometimes refers to SARS-CoV-2 as "the COVID-19 virus" in public health communications. The general public frequently calls both SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes "coronavirus", but scientists typically use more precise terminology.
Taxonomically, SARS-CoV-2 is a strain of Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). It is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. An intermediate animal reservoir such as a pangolin is also thought to be involved in its introduction to humans. The virus shows little genetic diversity, indicating that the spillover event introducing SARS-CoV-2 to humans is likely to have occurred in late 2019.
Epidemiological studies estimate each infection results in 1.4 to 3.9 new ones when no members of the community are immune and no preventive measures taken. The virus is primarily spread between people through close contact and via respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes. It mainly enters human cells by binding to the receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
Human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been confirmed during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Transmission occurs primarily via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes within a range of about 1.8 metres (6 ft). Indirect contact via contaminated surfaces is another possible cause of infection. Preliminary research indicates that the virus may remain viable on plastic and steel for up to three days, but does not survive on cardboard for more than one day or on copper for more than four hours; the virus is inactivated by soap, which destabilises its lipid bilayer. Viral RNA has also been found in stool samples from infected individuals.
The degree to which the virus is infectious during the incubation period is uncertain, but research has indicated that the pharynx reaches peak viral load approximately four days after infection. On 1 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that "transmission from asymptomatic cases is likely not a major driver of transmission". However, an epidemiological model of the beginning of the outbreak in China suggested that "pre-symptomatic shedding may be typical among documented infections" and that subclinical infections may have been the source of a majority of infections.
There is some evidence of human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including examples in felids. Some institutions have advised those infected with SARS-CoV-2 to restrict contact with animals.
The best prevention against viral pneumonia is vaccination against influenza, adenovirus, chickenpox, herpes zoster, measles, and rubella.
Vaccination helps prevent bronchopneumonia, mostly against influenza viruses, adenoviruses, measles, rubella, streptococcus pneumoniae, haemophilus influenzae, diphtheria, bacillus anthracis, chickenpox, and bordetella pertussis.
Lower respiratory infectious disease is the fifth-leading cause of death and the combined leading infectious cause of death, being responsible for 2·74 million deaths worldwide. This is generally similar to estimates in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study.
This total only accounts for "Streptococcus pneumoniae" and "Haemophilus Influenzae" infections and does not account for atypical or nosocomial causes of lower respiratory disease, therefore underestimating total disease burden.
Bacteria are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), with "Streptococcus pneumoniae" isolated in nearly 50% of cases. Other commonly isolated bacteria include "Haemophilus influenzae" in 20%, "Chlamydophila pneumoniae" in 13%, and "Mycoplasma pneumoniae" in 3% of cases; "Staphylococcus aureus"; "Moraxella catarrhalis"; "Legionella pneumophila" and Gram-negative bacilli. A number of drug-resistant versions of the above infections are becoming more common, including drug-resistant "Streptococcus pneumoniae" (DRSP) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
The spreading of organisms is facilitated when risk factors are present. Alcoholism is associated with "Streptococcus pneumoniae", anaerobic organisms, and "Mycobacterium tuberculosis"; smoking facilitates the effects of "Streptococcus pneumoniae", "Haemophilus influenzae", "Moraxella catarrhalis", and "Legionella pneumophila". Exposure to birds is associated with "Chlamydia psittaci"; farm animals with "Coxiella burnetti"; aspiration of stomach contents with anaerobic organisms; and cystic fibrosis with "Pseudomonas aeruginosa" and "Staphylococcus aureus". "Streptococcus pneumoniae" is more common in the winter, and should be suspected in persons aspirating a large amount of anaerobic organisms.
Mycoplasma is found more often in younger than in older people.
Older people are more often infected by Legionella.
When comparing the bacterial-caused atypical pneumonias with these caused by real viruses (excluding bacteria that were wrongly considered as viruses), the term "atypical pneumonia" almost always implies a bacterial cause and is contrasted with viral pneumonia.
Known viral causes of atypical pneumonia include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza A and B, parainfluenza, adenovirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
CAP is common worldwide, and a major cause of death in all age groups. In children, most deaths (over two million a year) occur in newborn period. According to a World Health Organization estimate, one in three newborn deaths are from pneumonia. Mortality decreases with age until late adulthood, with the elderly at risk for CAP and its associated mortality.
More CAP cases occur during the winter than at other times of the year. CAP is more common in males than females, and more common in black people than Caucasians. Patients with underlying illnesses (such as Alzheimer's disease, cystic fibrosis, COPD, tobacco smoking, alcoholism or immune-system problems) have an increased risk of developing pneumonia.
In adults, viruses account for approximately a third and in children for about 15% of pneumonia cases. Commonly implicated agents include rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, and parainfluenza. Herpes simplex virus rarely causes pneumonia, except in groups such as: newborns, persons with cancer, transplant recipients, and people with significant burns. People following organ transplantation or those otherwise-immunocompromised present high rates of cytomegalovirus pneumonia. Those with viral infections may be secondarily infected with the bacteria "Streptococcus pneumoniae", "Staphylococcus aureus", or "Haemophilus influenzae", particularly when other health problems are present. Different viruses predominate at different periods of the year; during influenza season, for example, influenza may account for over half of all viral cases. Outbreaks of other viruses also occasionally occur, including "hantaviruses" and "coronavirus".
CAP may be prevented by treating underlying illnesses increasing its risk, by smoking cessation and vaccination of children and adults. Vaccination against "haemophilus influenzae" and "streptococcus pneumoniae" in the first year of life has reduced their role in childhood CAP. A vaccine against "streptococcus pneumoniae", available for adults, is recommended for healthy individuals over 65 and all adults with COPD, heart failure, diabetes mellitus, cirrhosis, alcoholism, cerebrospinal fluid leaks or who have had a splenectomy. Re-vaccination may be required after five or ten years.
Patients who are vaccinated against "streptococcus pneumoniae", health professionals, nursing-home residents and pregnant women should be vaccinated annually against influenza. During an outbreak, drugs such as amantadine, rimantadine, zanamivir and oseltamivir have been demonstrated to prevent influenza.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases" that identifies the following factors contributing to disease emergence:
- Microbial adaption; e.g. genetic drift and genetic shift in Influenza A
- Changing human susceptibility; e.g. mass immunocompromisation with HIV/AIDS
- Climate and weather; e.g. diseases with zoonotic vectors such as West Nile Disease (transmitted by mosquitoes) are moving further from the tropics as the climate warms
- Change in human demographics and trade; e.g. rapid travel enabled SARS to rapidly propagate around the globe
- Economic development; e.g. use of antibiotics to increase meat yield of farmed cows leads to antibiotic resistance
- Breakdown of public health; e.g. the current situation in Zimbabwe
- Poverty and social inequality; e.g. tuberculosis is primarily a problem in low-income areas
- War and famine
- Bioterrorism; e.g. 2001 Anthrax attacks
- Dam and irrigation system construction; e.g. malaria and other mosquito borne diseases
An emerging infectious disease (EID) is an infectious disease whose incidence has increased in the past 20 years and could increase in the near future. Emerging infections account for at least 12% of all human pathogens. EIDs are caused by newly identified species or strains (e.g. Severe acute respiratory syndrome, HIV/AIDS) that may have evolved from a known infection (e.g. influenza) or spread to a new population (e.g. West Nile fever) or to an area undergoing ecologic transformation (e.g. Lyme disease), or be "reemerging" infections, like drug resistant tuberculosis. Nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus are emerging in hospitals, and extremely problematic in that they are resistant to many antibiotics. Of growing concern are adverse synergistic interactions between emerging diseases and other infectious and non-infectious conditions leading to the development of novel syndemics. Many emerging diseases are zoonotic - an animal reservoir incubates the organism, with only occasional transmission into human populations.