On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated an outbreak of a novel coronavirus not seen before in humans to be a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC); this was followed by the declaration of a pandemic on March 11, 2020 [1,2]. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), previously referred to as 2019-nCoV, is the virus responsible for causing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [, , , , ]. The pandemic traces its early beginnings to the report of a cluster of 27 unexplained pneumonia cases in late December 2019 originating from a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China [, , , ]. From the outset, the causative agent was thought to be viral, with most patients reporting fever or dyspnea [9,11]. With unprecedented numbers of individuals under travel restrictions or quarantine, worldwide spread, and no known cure or vaccine yet available, COVID-19 has proven a formidable adversary [12,, , ].
The Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak of 2014 in West Africa provided valuable lessons with regards to emergency preparedness, personal protective equipment use, and triage processes, and underscored the important role that emergency physicians play on the frontlines of emerging infectious diseases [, , ]. We describe the virology, epidemiology, clinical presentation, radiographic and laboratory findings, current testing protocols, and management of patients presenting with COVID-19 to the emergency department (ED). In this review article, we provide emergency physicians with best practices based on the rapidly evolving body of literature surrounding COVID-19.
SARS-CoV-2 is a member of the coronavirus family, named for the crown-like appearance of spikes on the virus surface [5,19]. Other members of the coronavirus family include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and SARS-CoV, as well as coronaviruses responsible for the common cold (Fig. 1, Fig. 2) [5,6,8,19]. Like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus and is likely associated with an animal reservoir (e.g., bats) [6,8,14]. While an exact animal source has not been confirmed for COVID-19, many of the early cases in China were linked to a live animal and seafood market [6,14,20,21].
Font: The American Journal of Emergency Medicine