The ‘novel coronavirus’ (recently named by the World Health Organization as COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans. COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus that was first detected in China in December 2019, and has since spread to other parts of the world.

What does COVID-19 mean for people living with MS?

As this strain of the coronavirus is new, we still need to learn more about how it may affect people with MS.

Many disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for MS work by suppressing or modifying the immune system. We know that people with MS who are receiving these therapies can face an increased risk of complications related to viral infections.

If you are taking a DMT and are either exposed to COVID-19 or are confirmed to have the COVID-19 infection, please contact your neurologist or other medical professional.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and how to protect against it?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include difficulty breathing, a cough and a high temperature, which can progress to pneumonia.

The World Health Organization provides a few basic measures for protecting against COVID-19. These include:

  • Wash your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue
  • Keep at least 1 metre distance between yourself and others, particularly those who are coughing and sneezing
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Practise food safety by using different chopping boards for raw meat and cooked foods and wash your hands between handling them

It is important to avoid contact with anyone who may have been living or travelling in an area where COVID-19 has been circulating. Get the latest updates on where there have been reported cases of COVID-19 from the World Health Organization here.

You can also find out the answers to some commonly asked questions about COVID-19 on the World Health Organization’s website.

Find out more about COVID-19 in the short informational video below, from the World Health Organization.

 

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