Aim: To study whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) could be excreted from digestive system.
Methods: Cell culture and semi-nested RT-PCR were used to detect SARS-CoV and its RNA from 21 stool and urine samples, and a kind of electropositive filter media particles was used to concentrate the virus in 10 sewage samples from two hospitals receiving SARS patients in Beijing in China.
Results: It was demonstrated that there was no live SARS-CoV in all samples collected, but the RNA of SARS-CoV could be detected in seven stool samples from SARS patients with any one of the symptoms of fever, malaise, cough, or dyspnea, in 10 sewage samples before disinfection and 3 samples after disinfection from the two hospitals. The RNA could not be detected in urine and stool samples from patients recovered from SARS.
Conclusion: Nucleic acid of SARS-CoV can be excreted through the stool of patients into sewage system, and the possibility of SARS-CoV transmitting through digestive system cannot be excluded.