Coronavirus May Cause Environmental Contamination Through Fecal Shedding

Andrew D. Bowser

March 06, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's  Coronavirus Resource Center .    

The toilet bowl, sink, and bathroom door handle of an isolation room housing a patient with the novel coronavirus tested positive for the virus, raising the possibility that viral shedding in the stool could represent another route of transmission, investigators reported.

Air outlet fans and other room sites also tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), though an anteroom, a corridor, and most personal protective equipment (PPE) worn by health care providers tested negative, according to the researchers, led by Sean Wei Xiang Ong, MBBS, of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, Singapore.

Taken together, these findings suggest a "need for strict adherence to environmental and hand hygiene" to combat significant environmental contamination through respiratory droplets and fecal shedding, Dr. Ong and colleagues wrote in JAMA.

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