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Characteristics of the coronavirus disease 2019: A review of emerging literature

Características de la enfermedad por coronavirus 2019: una revisión de literatura emergente


Background The 2019 coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) spread rapidly around the world. The extent and ultimate effect are still unclear, as it is an ongoing and constantly evolving pandemic.

Aims To compile the literature and synthesize in Spanish-Latin American language the available international information describing the etiological, pathophysiological, epidemiological and management aspects of COVID-19.

Methods Narrative review, using specific sections created in the databases. The criteria for selecting studies depended on the specific area addressed: etiological, pathophysiological, epidemiological aspects, treatment alternatives, etc. References in Spanish and English were included.

Results The World Health Organization reports that COVID-19 is a disease of zoonotic origin that was transmitted to a human host. The first cases were identified in late 2019 and January 2020, in Wuhan city, China. It was categorized as highly contagious and transmissible between humans, which is attributed to the structural features of this novel coronavirus. The clinical presentation is variable and nonspecific, as well as its severity. With a clear tropism for the respiratory system, the most severe cases may develop pneumonia, respiratory failure, multiorgan failure and thus death. It occurs in all age groups, with a lower percentage in children under 19 years of age (2.4%). Mortality varies between countries and regions (between 1.5 to 9.3% over the total of reported cases). Associated risk factors are the presence of comorbidities, advanced age, and immunosuppression.

Conclusions To date there have been thousands of scientific articles that attempt to explain the onset, progression, possible treatment options and global impact of the disease. There is still no certainty about the level or quality of this evidence. It is essential to generate documents synthesized and translated into Spanish or other languages that can bring this information to all the places and countries that are being impacted by this disease.

No English version is available for this article.