coronavirus genome
coronavirus genome

Farting another potential cause for rapid spread of Coronavirus? Australian doctors ponder

Two Australian doctors are studying the possibility of the spread of the coronavirus due to farting. In an episode on the infection on Friday on Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s “Coronacast,” podcast, host Dr. Norman Swan made a suggestion to the effect as particles of feces set adrift and the spread COVID-19.

Though he made the suggestion in a mild amused tone saying, “No bare-bottom farting,” it soon caught the attention of a physician Dr. Andy Tagg who posed the question on Twitter asking, “So, can the bottom-based emissions of someone with coronavirus be silent and deadly?” He went further stating that flatulence is an “aerosol-generating procedure.”

Indirectly he said yes to the possibility. According to him humans produce about a 1 litre of gas a day (plus or minus 500mls) and release it in 15-20 discrete episodes.

Andy Tagg

Andy Tagg

However, there is no study conducted on it so far but one recent study suggested that flushing toilet could spread the coronavirus via “aerosolized feces.” In fact, health officials in Oregon and New York have have recently cautioned against oral contact with feces during sex.

However, there is no research findings available as of now about the possibility of passing COVID-19 while passing gas. But another Australian doctor Aaron E. Glatt, a Mount Sinai South Nassau epidemiologist at the Icahn School of Medicine told the Post in an email: “Studies have clearly shown that a significant percentage of COVID-19 patients do have GI symptoms  at the time of illness presentation. However, there are no published data on whether flatulence alone presents any risk of transmission, although in a clothed person, it would be unlikely to be a significant route of transmission.”

Tagg, who also runs a medical education site ‘Don’t Forget the Bubbles’, suggests that one should keep pants as personal protection equipment (PPE). He tweeted: “Perhaps SARS-CoV-2 can be spread the power of parping — we need more evidence… So remember to wear appropriate PPE at all times and stay safe!”


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