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Red alert! Coronavirus could be spread by rimming, scientists say

Vic Parsons March 14, 2020
Coronavirus could be spread by rimming, scientists say

A peach. (Charles Deluvio/Unsplash)

The coronavirus pandemic has taken an unexpected turn as Chinese scientists warn the disease could be spread by rimming.

Researchers studying COVID-19 among infected patients in a hospital in China are thought to be the first to test stool samples for the disease, and are now warning that coronavirus can be transmitted via mouth-to-butt contact.

This is the latest blow for the LGBT+ community, which is already more vulnerable to coronavirus than heterosexual people and has seen the pandemic force major Pride festivals to cancel.

Cells containing coronavirus are present in the faeces of more than half of the people infected with the virus, the study – which was published online in medical journal Gastroenterology – found.

Additionally, the scientists found that one in five patients who no longer had infected cells in their respiratory tract still had infected cells in their faeces.

This means that people who test negative for coronavirus via the conventional testing method may still be able to infect people who come into contact with their faeces.

While douching before rimming does remove most traces of faeces, it’s unlikely to remove every single infected cell.

The discovery of this new route of infection has lead the scientists to urge healthcare professionals to carry out stool testing as part of their response to the pandemic, and for people to minimise the risk of catching the disease this way by minimising oral-faecal contact.

“Prevention of fecal-oral transmission should be taken into consideration to control the spread the virus,” the paper says.

The research was carried out between 1 and 14 February, with scientists taking stool samples from 73 patients with coronavirus.

They found that in more than half of the cases, people with infected cells in their respiratory system also had infected cells in their stool.

The study also confirmed that in addition to the known symptoms of fever and coughing, coronavirus can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and nausea.

While the study did not specifically name rimming, the warnings about oral-faecal transmission of coronavirus mean it is advisable not to have oral contact with the butt of anyone who may have coronavirus.

 

More: Coronavirus, COVID-19

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