There have been no reported cases of COVID-19 due to contact with the faeces of an infected individual and the WHO states that risk of faecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 is low. Prevention of transmission from respiratory droplets from person to person and via surfaces should be the priority.   However, human waste is hazardous and can contain numerous pathogens so should be safely managed in all settings. 

In order for transmission via faeces to occur, humans must shed the virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) in their faeces. Other factors that influence the likelihood of faecal-oral transmission include environmental persistence, the amount of infectious virus shed in faeces, and the infectious dose.

Want to know more about faecal-oral transmission of COVID-19?

Editor's note

Author: Jackie Knee

Review: Tom Heath, Robert Dreibelbis, Oliver Cumming, Karin Gallandat, Kate Medlicott
Last update: 13.08.2020

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