A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that the coronavirus responsible for the deadly outbreak in China can be transmitted with feces outside the respiratory tract.
The number of victims of the 2019 nCoV epidemic, better recognized as the Chinese coronavirus, is increasing. According to the latest figures from the National Health Commission, announced on Sunday, the number of deaths related to the new coronavirus in China has surpassed the 1000 mark. At this moment this current epidemic has caused more victims than SARS.
This deadly coronavirus is transmitted by droplets that are spread by sneezing and coughing by infected persons. However, according to a new study published in the JAMA, the respiratory tract may not be the only way how this virus is transmitted.
Scientists also suspect that the 2019 nCoV virus may also be transmitted via the fecal route. The study was conducted on 138 coronavirus patients treated in a hospital in Wuhan (the city where the epidemic started). Of these, 14 patients experienced diarrhea and nausea about two days before the onset of fever and breathing problems.
Traces of the 2019 nCoV virus were also found in the feces of an American patient affected by the disease. Other Chinese patients described in The Lancet showed similar, though rare, symptoms. These data suggest that the virus can also be transmitted via the fecal route. Thus to avoid transmission via fecal route precautions must be taken.
“We do not yet know how long this virus can survive outside the body and what temperature the 2019-nCoV is sensitive to,” said Jiayu Liao, a bioengineer at the University of California.
Since its appearance on Chinese territory in early December 2019, the 2019-nCoV virus has claimed many victims in China: In addition to 1000 deaths, 42200 people have fallen ill. More than 320 cases have been confirmed in about 30 countries and territories. One death occurred in Hong Kong, another in the Philippines and an American patient died in a hospital in Wuhan on the 6th of February.