COVID -19 continues to baffle scientists and leading health experts. Research now indicates the virus could be spread through a person’s faeces. Researchers made this discovery after analysing an infected patient’s stools with shocking results.
Scientists and researchers have found that, in addition to upper respiratory symptoms, a significant number of patients infected with COVID-19 also suffered from loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
A study which was published in April in Gastroenterology delved further into these four issues felt in the tummy.
Dr Alexander Podboy, author of the study said: “COVID-19 is probably not just respiratory symptoms like a cough.
“A third of the patients we studied had gastrointestinal symptoms.
“It’s possible we may be missing a significant portion of patients sick with the coronavirus due to our current testing strategies focusing on respiratory symptoms alone.”
In the study, gastrointestinal symptoms were reported by 31.9 percent of the patients.
The majority of that group described the symptoms as mild.
Twenty-two percent said they had experienced a loss of appetite, 22 percent had nausea and vomiting, and 12 percent experienced diarrhoea.
Dr George Cholankeril said of this discovery: “We also noticed that 40 percent of patients had elevated levels of an abnormal liver enzyme, and that those with high levels required more hospitalisation.”
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Some of the gastrointestinal-related research findings are indicating the possibility of COVID-19 being present in the stool and maybe being absent in the respiratory tract.
“So, this disease could be present in the stool first and then later on present in the respiratory tract.
“Though more information is required, we should probably assume for safety’s sake that if somebody has been confirmed as having COVID-19, their stool, just like their respiratory secretions, is potentially transmittable and infectious.”
Previous tests have found that COVID-19 can be present in faeces, but it was unclear if the virus would be viable enough to spread to another person, according to a Live Science report.
A group of researchers analysed stool samples from patients with COVID-19.
They isolated the coronavirus from one patient and examined the virus under an electron microscope.
The researchers found that the coronavirus was in fact viable in the stool sample.
This discovery could mean that people who use the bathroom and then don’t wash their hands could spread the virus even further.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said: “There is some evidence that COVID-19 infection may lead to intestinal infection and be present in faeces.
“However, to date only one study has cultured the COVID-19 virus from a single stool specimen.
“There have been no reports of faecal-oral transmission of the COVID-19 virus to date.”
It’s important to remember to wash your hands at all times, especially after using the bathroom, added WHO.
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