The disease COVID-19 is caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 which can be detected in faeces. Current detection methods rely largely on molecular techniques to identify unique genetic material for the virus, SARS-CoV-2 . Genetic material can be detected in both viable (“living”) and non-viable or inactivated (“killed”) viruses so its detection does not mean the individual is necessarily infected or that the faeces is infectious.
It is possible to detect viruses using culture-based techniques, which provide information on the viability of the virus, but these methods are more difficult, particularly for SARS-CoV-2, and time-consuming than most molecular techniques, which is why they are less frequently used.
Want to know more about faecal-oral transmission of COVID-19?
- Can COVID-19 be transmitted by faecal-oral routes?
- What is faecal-oral transmission?
- Can transmission occur via aerosolized faeces?
- How long can SARS-CoV-2 persist in the environment?
- Amount of infectious virus shed in faeces and infectious dose
- Has SARS-CoV-2 been detected in human faeces?
- How do we conduct surveillance for COVID-19 in wastewater and sludge?
- If COVID-19 is a respiratory disease, why would it be detected in faeces?
- Are there special considerations for sanitation and COVID-19?
- Do sanitation workers need to take special precautions while handling faecal waste?
- Do sanitation workers face other risks that require preventative actions?
- Can water sources be contaminated with SARS-Cov-2?
- Guidance for water treatment
- Water quantity
Author: Jackie Knee