Coronavirus COVID-19: virus can survive on surfaces for up to 17 days and ‘digestive symptoms are common’

The coronavirus survived for up to 17 days aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, living much longer on surfaces than previous research has shown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States. Traces of the coronavirus were found on surfaces in cruise-ship cabins for as many as 17 days after passengers left, researchers noted, but they were not able to determine whether the virus caused any infections. The study looked at the Japanese and U.S. government efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreaks on the Carnival-owned Diamond Princess ship in Japan and the Grand Princess ship in California.

It was previously reported that the virus can last up to three days on plastic and stainless steel. That study also found that the amount of the virus left on those surfaces decreased over time.

On a separate note, a new study which analysed 204 people who received medical care for COVID-19 in January and February of 2020 has found that 48.5% of the patients experienced digestive symptoms. 7 of the 204 patients with COVID-19 had no respiratory symptoms at all but presented with digestive ailments. The researchers of the study, published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, found that the main digestive complaints were a lack of appetite, in 83 individuals, and diarrhea, in 29.

Other symptoms included vomiting, in 8 individuals, and abdominal pain, in 4 people. Those without any digestive symptoms appeared more likely to recover from COVID-19 and be discharged from the hospital sooner than those with digestive symptoms.

Given these findings, the authors advise that suspicion levels should be raised for “at-risk patients presenting with digestive symptoms, rather than waiting for respiratory symptoms to emerge.”

The study authors also note that 7 of the 204 patients with COVID-19 had no respiratory symptoms but did experience digestive symptoms.

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