New study of coronavirus symptoms shows when patients are most infectious – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS patients are most infectious when they have mild symptoms, a new study has shown. 

Scientists found that people who tested positive for Covid-19 'shed' or excrete the virus at 'high levels' during the first week of symptoms.

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And this shedding makes them at their most infectious for up to eight days after symptoms show – or ten to 11 days for more severe cases. 

It comes after the number of cases of coronavirus in the UK rose today to 29,474 – with the death toll standing at 2,392.

Scientists were able to make the revelation after analysing nine young and middle-aged adults, with relatively mild symptoms of Covid-19.

They had all tested positive for coronavirus and were being treated for mild upper respiratory tract symptoms at a hospital in Munich, Germany.

The scientists studied throat and lung samples, sputum (mucus from the respiratory tract), and stool, blood and urine collected from the patients during their treatment.

The researchers found high levels of the virus in the nose and throat and said the patients were all shedding the bug in 'high levels' during the first week of symptoms.

And they found that traces of the virus were still in the patients' throat and lungs until day eight of suffering symptoms – meaning they would have been infectious up until this point.

However, two of the patients who were in a more severe condition and showed some early signs of pneumonia, continued to shed high levels of the virus until day ten or eleven.

However, the scientists wrote in the study, published in Nature, that they could not detect traces of the new coronavirus in blood or urine samples.

Despite this, a separate study counteracts this – and suggests the virus is present in poo samples, after a person has recovered from Covid-19.


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Scientists from the Institute of Infectious Diseases at Beijing Ditan Hospital, in China, found traces of the deadly bug in stool samples of patients who had been given the all clear after testing positive for coronavirus.

They made the discovery after taking swabs to determine whether the patients were able to be discharged from hospital and whether they needed to continue to self-isolate.

Among 133 patients admitted with Covid-19 from January 20 to February 27, 2020, the doctors from China identified 22 with traces of coronavirus in their sputum or stools.

And they even found that traces may remain in this excrement for between 13 and 39 days – before they completely disappeared.

Despite this, the researchers cautioned that it is not known whether these positive sputum or stool results indicate that the patient could still be infectious to others.

However, their findings are potentially important because they suggest that more study is needed in this area.

Earlier this week, experts warned that young people who suddenly lose their sense of smell or taste could be "hidden carriers" of coronavirus.

Ear, nose and throat specialists said people who develop the condition known as anosmia or hyposnia (partial loss) – could be facilitating the rapid international spread of Covid-19.

The British Rhinological Society, who study the nose and sinuses, say they have seen rising numbers of young people in the past month suffering from loss of smell or taste.

And they fear it is these people who are spreading the deadly bug – as they currently do not meet current criteria for testing or self isolation.

Currently in the UK, the only two official symptoms people are suppose to self-isolate for are if they have a new, continuous cough or a high temperature.

British Rhinological Society President Claire Hopkins said: "I have personally seen four patients this week, all under 40, and otherwise asymptomatic except for the recent onset of anosmia — I usually see roughly no more than one a month.

"I think these patients may be some of the hitherto hidden carriers that have facilitated the rapid spread of Covid-19.

"Unfortunately, these patients do not meet current criteria for testing or self isolation."

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