A new coronavirus outbreak has been reported from China where reportedly the virus has spread through the fecal fumes inside a drain pipe. People living in a block of flats in Guangzhou were infected by a common neighbor and eventually, all of them became a part of the COVID-19 transmission study. The complete study findings are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
A total number of nine people belonging from three families were infected all of which are thought to spread through fecal contamination. All 193 people living in these blocks along with 24 workers were then tested for the COVID-19 and nine of these were diagnosed positive. Surprisingly, all of these people were living above each other’s flat which gives a clear link on the viral transmission.
Nick Talley who is the editor-in-chief of a medical journal in Australia says that these studies are rather ‘speculative’. She tweeted saying that it is a probable proof that the virus can spread through fecal aerosols.
The study investigated families who were living in apartments above each other. And one of these families traveled to the Wuhan which was the first place where this pandemic started earlier this year. However, no other families had any travel history to Wuhan or any other risky area. Five people of this family which traveled to Wuhan came back by the end of January and only after a few days, some of the members from their neighboring family got the symptoms.
These two families don’t share any relations or they don’t even talk to each other. They don’t even use the same elevators to move around the building.
Using ethane gas, the research team was able to check the pipelines that connect all these flats. The drains of all three flats open in this pipeline through their master bathroom, in each flat on every floor. Surprisingly, they were able to found the concentration of fecal aerosols from the bathroom of the traveling family in other flats suggesting that the pipeline is the route of viral transmission.
This is highly unlikely that the coronavirus traveled in the fecal aerosols through the pipeline and infected people from another family, living in a separate flat but this is exactly what happened in this case.
The fecal aerosols also called bioaerosols to contain many things such as parts of urine, feces, and even pathogens. From the mucus samples obtained from the infected patients, it looks like they had bioaerosols in their bodies which explains how they got this virus.
Earlier, in June, another study blamed ‘fecal fumes’ to play a role in coronavirus transmission. This study was published in the journal Physics of Fluids.
It clearly stated that it is possible for the coronavirus to transmit through the viral loaded feces in addition to the respiratory droplets which are thought a typical way of coronavirus spread.
This new coronavirus outbreak in China suggests that the viral transmission is now confirmed in the fecal samples which could be transmitted to any other person using the same bathroom or coming into contact with bioaerosols.