Coronavirus in Faeces. Say it: Faeces, Not Theses By Brian Simpson

     Apparently, the coronavirus can be transmitted through human faeces, and the media is having fun, like kids playing in mud for the first time, saying the word “faeces,” over, and over, and over again, with Freudian delight:

“While doctors have focused on respiratory samples from pneumonia cases to identify coronavirus patients, they might have ignored a less apparent source of the spread: diarrhea. The novel coronavirus was detected in the loose stool of the first U.S. case — a finding that hasn’t featured among case reports from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. However, that doesn’t surprise scientists who have studied coronaviruses, nor doctors familiar with the bug that caused SARS. Diarrhea occurred in about 10 to 20 percent of patients afflicted with severe acute respiratory syndrome about 17 years ago and was the source of an explosive SARS outbreak in the Amoy Gardens residential complex in Hong Kong. SARS and Wuhan viruses bind to the same distinctly shaped protein receptors in the body that are expressed in the lungs and intestines, making these organs the primary targets for both viruses, said Fang Li, an associate professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences at the University of Minnesota. The discovery of the Wuhan virus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, in the fecal material of the 35-year-old man treated at the Providence Regional Medical Center Everett in Washington is “interesting,” said Scott Lindquist, the state epidemiologist for infectious disease at Washington’s Department of Health. “That adds to the knowledge about this,” he told reporters on a conference call Friday. “It’s not only excreted in your respiratory secretions, it’s also secreted in your stool.”

Researchers don’t yet know how exactly 2019-nCoV spreads from person to person, but they suspect it is most likely from coming into contact with virus-containing droplets that could be emitted by an infected person’s cough and transferred to their hands or surfaces and objects. That has led to a run on face masks. But those may be of limited benefit in the event the virus is being transmitted via the fecal-oral route, said John Nicholls, a clinical professor of pathology at the University of Hong Kong. Squat latrines lacking covers, common in China, and hands that aren’t washed thoroughly with soap and water after visiting the bathroom could be a source of virus transmission, said Nicholls, who was part of the research team that isolated and characterized the SARS virus. A virus-laden aerosol plume emanating from a SARS patient with diarrhea was implicated in possibly hundreds of cases at the Amoy Gardens housing complex in 2003. That led Hong Kong researchers to understand the importance of the virus’s spread through the gastrointestinal tract and to recognize both the limitation of face masks and importance of cleanliness and hygiene, Nicholls said in an interview. “I think in Wuhan, that would be a very likely place where you might get the transmission” from fecal material, he said. “If it’s using the same receptor as for SARS, I can’t see why it shouldn’t be replicating in the gut.”

     This will be a major problem in areas of Asia where open toilet use is still widely practiced:



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