Your Stools Can Have COVID19 Even If Your Respiratory Samples Don’t
By Dr Raghuram Kondala, Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist, Continental Hospitals
Coronavirus outbreak has become the talk of the town and we all probably don't even remember what we used to talk before this pandemic occurred. Nowadays we have started waking up with news of increased cases in the country and a higher number of deaths. People are becoming more anxious about it. Especially the patients who have underlying diseases, fear it even more. According to experts, recently it has been found that though your nasal swabs have tested negative, the virus can still be present in your stool samples. This is how there are increased chances of the virus reoccurring in the COVID-19 patient.
According to a study in The Lancet - “Prolonged presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in faecal samples,” it was suggested that a patient's respiratory samples test negative in around 16 to 17 days. However, their stool samples test negative in about 27 to 28 day. Hence, that your stools are infected with coronavirus for a longer time. Experts also say that the transmission rate in the following stool particles is less than the respiratory particles, but still the virus exists in the body and can be dangerous.
Furthermore, to prove these studies, experts have said that a lot of patients who have tested positive of COVID-19 have shown gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and other digestive problems.
Nowadays, hospitals in India and in other countries have started following two-sample procedures where they don't discharge the patient until two respiratory samples are negative. Even after that, once the patient is discharged he has to stay in quarantine for 7 to 14 days. This is because it was found in the study, that virus can be shed in the stool for a longer period. Hence, if there is a chance that the virus is still there in the patient's body then it’s better to quarantine themselves further. This would help them be all-clear from the virus and would not spread to anyone else.
Dr Raghuram Kondala,
Consultant Medical Gastroenterologist, Continental Hospitals
Disclaimer: : The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.