COVID-19 can be spread by fecal-oral contact, according to a study conducted by a group of Chinese researchers.
The strain of the coronavirus thrives in the gastrointestinal track, noted Dr. Hong Shan from Fifth Affiliated Hospital. In a report posted digitally to Gastroenterology, he and colleagues discovered proteins associated with the disease "abundantly expressed" there.
From February 1 to 14, the study examined the stool of 73 patients, 39 (53.42 percent, 25 men and 14 women) had viral RNA present in their fecal matter. Moreover, the stool of 17 percent of patients (23.3 percent) tested positive for the RNA even after their respiratory infection had cleared.
The study confirms that, in addition to coughing and fever, gastrointestinal symptoms (and infection) can be associated with COVID-19, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
As a result, the study recommends that stool testing be "performed routinely" in hospitalized COVID-19 patients and that "Transmission-Based Precautions" should continue if the results come back positive.
The results of the study, which reveals another avenue of transmission for the virus, underscores the necessity of washing hands after using the bathroom; infected particles could be spread to sinks, doorknobs, and other people. While the study does not mention rimming, it is advisable to not have oral or anal contact with anyone showing symptoms.