Coronavirus And Common Flu: Symptoms, Transmission,
Differences Between Coronavirus And Common Flu We analyze the differences and similarities of coronavirus and common influenza. What symptoms are the same for both? Can they be easily differentiated?
With all eyes on the coronavirus, many wonder about the differences and similarities between this pathogen and another known and habitual old man of these dates: the influenza virus. What things do they have in common? Can they be easily differentiated?
Many of the symptoms of both infections are similar. Both cause fever, cough, fatigue, or headache and sore throat. However, it also seems that those affected by one or another disease have certain peculiarities. “What we are seeing, for the moment, is that the flu frequently causes muscle pain, myalgia. However, this symptom is not seen in most coronavirus infections,” explains Jordi Reina, head of the Virology unit. of the Hospital Son Espases de Mallorca.
“We also have data that says that, in the case of Covid-19, a dry cough occurs in the vast majority of cases, without expectoration,” explains Antoni Trilla, head of the Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology Service at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona , who also clarifies that the pneumonia associated with coronavirus infection is usually a consequence of an evolution of the disease, associated with the pathogen itself. In contrast, influenza-associated pneumonia often results from superinfection with other pathogens, such as bacteria.
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Both diseases are also transmitted by the respiratory route. When an affected person coughs or sneezes, it releases small droplets that contain the pathogen. These drops do not stay in the air for long, but they can be deposited on objects that, if touched, contribute to the spread of viruses.
Either way, it does seem that the coronavirus has a higher transmission capacity than the common flu. It is estimated that there is a contagion of about three individuals for each infected person, while in the case of influenza this transmission reaches one or two people.
According to estimates, the case rate of common influenza is around 0.1%. In contrast, the lethality of the coronavirus exceeds 2% in China and it has been estimated that it is around 0.7% outside the original outbreak. “We don’t know exactly what these differences are due to,” Reina explains. “It is being investigated whether it may be due to differences in healthcare or whether a genetic component is also involved,” adds the virologist.
Both in the case of influenza and the Wuhan coronavirus, the people most at risk of dying and suffering complications from the infection are the elderly and people with a picture of previous pathologies or immunosuppression. According to World Health Organization estimates, annual influenza epidemics cause 3 to 5 million severe cases and 290,000 to 650,000 deaths. Instead, to date, the new coronavirus has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide.
The measures to prevent infection are also similar in both viruses. “If I were asked for suggestions to prevent this virus I would give similar advice as in the flu: wash your hands frequently, do not touch your face with your hands … in the absence of a vaccine, and although scientifically it is not the same as the flu, the principles The basic prevention measures are the same, “said director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at a press conference on Thursday.
Jordi Vila, head of the Microbiology Department of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, agrees with the recommendation. “Washing hands is the most effective and cheapest measure against pathogens,” stresses the specialist, who recommends using soap and water and, if possible, also a disinfecting alcoholic solution.