On March 27th, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) issued a statement regarding the coronavirus:
Contagion period of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which causes the current pandemic.
A study was conducted in China on 16 patients with mild illness experienced coronavirus contagion through the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) laboratory test. Patients were discharged after the disappearance of symptoms and two consecutive negative laboratory tests. Afterward, throat samples were taken from all patients on alternate days. It was found that half of the patients continued to transmit the virus from one to eight days after the disappearance of symptoms. Therefore, the authors recommend a quarantine period of 15 days for infected patients after the resolution of symptoms.
Although the study was conducted on a small group of patients, it is significant because it indicates a possibility of prolonged coronavirus contagion even after the clinical recovery of the disease.
This could influence the number of infected patients in the long term. Another study was conducted on 565 Japanese citizens evacuated from the city of Wuhan, which detected 13 infected people, of which 4 never developed symptoms. These findings could provide relevant insights regarding the protective measures considered against coronavirus contagion.
It is important to remember that around 60% of infected people may have mild or no symptoms even with a positive diagnostic test and during the incubation period. That is, from the moment a person contracts the virus until they develop the disease, it can take between 2 and 14 days.
The coronavirus contagion can last for up to 5 weeks in an infected person.
All of this further strengthens the importance of isolation and quarantine in order to properly control the pandemic.
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