“The scientists … believe the virus can be ‘transmitted through the potential fecal-oral route’ if the hands, food, or water are contaminated.”
Newsweek – COVID-19, the new coronavirus which has killed more than 2,000 people, may spread through feces, scientists believe.
As the virus is thought to have only come to the attention of health officials late last year, when workers at a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province, fell ill, experts are still working to understand how it is transmitted.
More than 75,000 cases of the deadly virus—whose symptoms include a fever, dry cough and short breath—have been confirmed, predominantly in mainland China. It has spread to over 25 countries and territories, including the United States, as shown below in the infographic by Statista.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the virus is thought to spread like other members of the coronavirus family, SARS and MERS, through droplets from coughs and sneezes, close contact with others and contaminated surfaces.
However, some experts working to shed light on COVID-19 believe it is possible it could be passed on through feces.
On Saturday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a report stating the virus had been found in the stool of COVID-19 patients from the northeastern province of Heilongjiang.
The scientists said this led them to believe the virus can be “transmitted through the potential fecal-oral route” if the hands, food, or water are contaminated, which could enable it to enter the body through the nose, mouth, and eyes.
They argued that while droplets and close contact are the most common routes of transmission, they do not appear to account for all cases or “the reasons for the rapid spread of this virus.”
“This virus has many routes of transmission, which can partially explain its strong transmission and fast transmission speed,” the report added.
This was followed by a study published on Monday by a separate team of researchers, which similarly suggested the virus might be capable of infecting people if they ingest fecal matter … Read more.