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Novel coronavirus from Wuhan could transmit through human faeces, say scientists: Report

Novel coronavirus from Wuhan could transmit through human faeces, say scientists: Report

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (Image: Reuters)

WUHAN: Scientists at China's top research body in natural sciences have found another possible mode of transmission of the novel coronavirus which originated in Wuhan.

The virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 360 people in China, could be transmitted through the digestive system and into human faeces, according to scientists cited in a report by China's Xinhua news agency.

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This means that the virus could be ingested through the faecal-oral route, where pathogens can pass through faeces and into the mouth of another person. 

It may occur due to poor hygiene practices, lack of sanitation, pollution of soil and water bodies with faecal matter or contamination of food.

Experts from the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University and the Wuhan Institute of Virology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences noticed that the initial symptom of some patients infected with the coronavirus was diarrhoea instead of fever, a more common symptom.

The research team found viral nucleic acids in patients' stool and rectal swabs, and believes that the novel coronavirus has certain faecal-oral transmission possibilities, in addition to droplet and contact transmissions.

READ: No new cases of Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore, total remains at 18: MOH

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore: What we know about the confirmed cases

China confirmed on Monday more than 17,000 cases of the coronavirus.

The first coronavirus death outside China was reported on Sunday in the Philippines, a day after China imposed a lockdown on a major city far from the epicentre.

Most of the infections overseas have been detected in people who travelled from Wuhan, an industrial hub of 11 million people, or surrounding areas of Hubei province.

China has embarked on unprecedented efforts to contain the virus, which is believed to have come from a Wuhan animal market.

Apart from China, human-to-human transmission has also been reported in South KoreaJapan, Germany and Thailand.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage on the Wuhan coronavirus and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the Wuhan virus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram 

Source: CNA/ic(mn)

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