Coronavirus or Food Poisoning? Information about the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Outbreak 1 month ago
United States
Coronavirus or Food Poisoning? Information about the current COVID-19 outbreak.
“There is some confusion surrounding the current Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak that began in December 2019 and whether you can get it through food. Here is some information:

Mar 23 UPDATE: The CDC has released a newsletter titled "Food Safety and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)" stating that while it is possible for a person to get the Covid-19 through touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their own face, it is not the main form of transmission. The CDC states, with low survivability of coronavirus on surfaces food product and packaging present a very low risk of infection.

Mar 16 UPDATE: In the United States the CDC has recommended against holding any event or group gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks. This had led many cities and states to temporarily ban dine-in restaurants and bars but delivery and take out options are still available. Covid-19 is thought to be spread primarily through human contact so delivery services and restaurants have setup contactless delivery options to minimize human contact. There does seem to be some evidence of the potential for transmission of the virus through fecal matter so it is super important that restaurants continue to follow strict sanitary guidelines such as having workers thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom and before preparing and delivering food.

Feb 26 UPDATE: The Chinese CDC is investigating the possibility that the virus can be spread through fecal matter that could possibly contaminate food and water. The Chinese CDC has found live viruses in stool samples of Covid-19 patients and can be a partial explanation for the rapid spread of the disease. The agency is recommending strengthening sanitation and hygiene measures.

What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses found in both animals and humans. Past outbreaks include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The current novel(a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans) Coronavirus strain called 2019-nCoV is thought to originate in live food markets in Wuhan, China through animals and human contact.

How is it transmitted?
Coronaviruses strains are usually transmitted through the respiratory system, so it is typically thought of as a low risk of infection from contaminated food. Restaurants can be a site of transmission of coronavirus because of the large numbers of people congregating in close quarters and then coughing/sneezing could spread the disease just like in other places (transportation, schools, etc). But the food itself normally isn’t a likely vehicle.

The current Coronavirus strains 2019-nCoV has been found in stool samples of COVID-19 patients by the Chinese CDC which means that the current outbreak might be transmitted from multiple routes not just through the respiratory system as usual.

Signs of infection?
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases and those with weakened immune systems, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death.

If you think you have Covid-19 symptoms and can't get tested, please report here:

World Health Organization (WHO) recommends standard measures to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth+nose when coughing/sneezing, and avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing. Additional recommendations from the Chinese CDC include strengthening health publicity and education; maintaining environmental health and personal hygiene; drinking boiled water, avoiding raw food consumption, and implementing separate meal systems in epidemic areas; frequently washing hands and disinfecting of surfaces of objects in households, toilets, public places, and transportation vehicles; and disinfecting the excreta and environment of patients in medical facilities to prevent water and food contamination from patients’ stool samples.

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