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Toilet flushing can spread Covid-19 - Study

Published Jun 18, 2020


CAPE TOWN - A study conducted in China, has found that flushing toilets is yet another way of spreading the virus.

There are plenty of research initiatives currently on the novel Covid-19, some looking for a cure and others looking to learn more about the disease.

The study was conducted between 1 to 14 of February with 73 patients from various hospitals in China taking part by producing multiple specimens for testing, some of which were serum, urine and stool.

Researchers found that over half of the patients (53.42%), had tested positive in their stool alone.

Another study, focusing on the prolonged presence of Covid-19 - published by The Lancet, found a case in one patient, where 33 days after being cleared of the virus, still produced infected faeces.

A study by Physics of Fluid, focusing on whether toilet use promoted the spread of the Covid-19 disease, has found the flushing of toilets may be dangerous with improper use.

The researchers said, “Some 40%–60% of the total number of particles can rise above the toilet seat to cause large-area spread, with the height of these particles reaching 106.5 cm from the ground.”

“Even in the post-flushing period (35 s–70 s after the last flushing), the upward velocity of the diffused particles can reach 0.27 cm/s–0.37 cm/s, and they continue to climb.”

The study provided the following precautions to be taken when using a toilet:

- Put the toilet lid down before flushing, which can basically prevent virus transmission.

- Clean the toilet seat before using it, since floating virus particles could have settled on its surface.

- Wash hands carefully after flushing, since virus particles may be present on the flush button and door handle.

The findings of Covid-19 within faeces have prompted further research from many other institutes with further studies underway focusing on the further spread such as untreated water and sewage systems.

Although there are many transmission routes of Covid-19, fecal-oral transmission is a great possibility. With an infected person using a toilet, bathrooms can become high infection zones as its frequently used and without proper precautions the spreading of the virus becomes inevitable.

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