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How long do people continue shedding the Covid 19 virus?

How long do people continue shedding the Covid 19 virus?

How long do people continue shedding the Covid 19 virus?

The world has been puzzled and trying to find answers for the duration of viral shedding. This is from patients shedding the virus from cough droplets, or stool . Studies were done detecting the viral RNA using RT-PCR tests.They have detected that viral shedding in the upper respiratory tract,that is in the throat  and nose persisted for an average of 17 days and also viral RNA is been detected in stool on average of about 16 days.The maximum shedding duration was found at 83 days in some patients vith severe Covid-19 illness and with underlying medical problems.

In my common experience we have found that by day 14 people would be recovering or would have recovered if they didn't have significant underlying conditions. By day 21 of symptom onset a lot of people will be virus free.That is if you do an RT-PCR it would come back negative

However people with significant underlying conditions like diabetes, smoking history,overweight underlying immuno suppression whether through chemotherapy or HIV or cancer involving the bone marrow,these people often have severe illness of the Covid-19 and continue shedding virus for longer periods. Only those classified as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome will shed virus for longer.

So what are the implications of all this available evidence

The evidence from this study has important implications for Covid 19 transmissibility in the community and this emphasises the importance of early case finding and prompt isolation. Public Education about the spectrum of the illness,isolation practices should be commenced with the start of the first symptoms which can include mild and some unusual symptoms preceding typical symptoms of COVID-19 such is cough and fever. However given the potential delays in isolation of patients even the early detection and isolation strategy might not be fully effective in containing Covid 19.

Does this not scare you about our response to advice strategy in place to contain Covid-19.

About the author

Dr Fanwell Mamvura

Dr Fanwell Mamvura

A Zimbabwean trained medical doctor, a Physician, currently living and working in the United Kingdom. He brings in a lot of knowledge and experience from his role as a Covid-19 front-line worker.

Seeing and managing patients affected with Covid-19 from its craddle in Feb-March 2020, up to now has empowered him with knowledge to share his on-going experience on his blogs.

He acknowledges that understanding Covid-19 and its complications is a learning process for him and every individual. He appreciates that collating information on this menace will eventually lead to science driven outcomes and a better future.

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