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Gulf Today Report
Eye fluid could may be ‘not only a site of virus entry but also a source of contagion,’ Italian study concludes.
The coronavirus can linger in patients’ eyes for several weeks and could act as a way of spreading the Covid-19 disease, according new study from Italy.
Scientists at Italy’s National Institute for Infectious Diseases hospital in Rome studied the symptoms of an unnamed 65-year-old woman who developed the virus after travelling from the Chinese city of from Wuhan.
When the woman developed conjunctivitis – an eye infection causing redness and itchiness – doctors decided to take regular swabs from her eye.
They discovered the virus remained present in “ocular samples” up to 21 days after she was admitted to hospital.
The team said the findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, indicated that eye fluids from coronavirus patients “may be a potential source of infection”.
The Italian experts said their research suggested that the eye could not be an entryway for the virus, but also a source of contagion.
The study authors said, “These findings highlight the importance of control measures, such as avoiding touching the nose, mouth, and eyes and frequent hand washing.”
Though it’s rarely reported in confirmed Covid-19 cases, doctors have reported some patients hospitalised with the virus suffered from conjunctivitis among their other symptoms.
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Some experts have recommended people who wear contact lenses to switch to glasses to reduce any risk of transmitting the virus through the eyes.
The team at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases hospital in Rome said it was important for eye doctors to be away of the potential risk of infection.
“A related implication is the importance of appropriate use of personal protective equipment for ophthalmologists during clinical examination, because ocular mucosa may be not only a site of virus entry but also a source of contagion,” said the study’s authors.
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