Potential fecal transmission of SARS-CoV-2: Current evidence and implications for public health

Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Jun;95:363-370. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.04.057. Epub 2020 Apr 23.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Hubei Province, China in December 2019 and has since become a global pandemic, with hundreds of thousands of cases and over 165 countries affected. Primary routes of transmission of the causative virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), are through respiratory droplets and close person-to-person contact. While information about other potential modes of transmission are relatively sparse, evidence supporting the possibility of a fecally mediated mode of transmission has been accumulating. Here, current knowledge on the potential for fecal transmission is briefly reviewed and the possible implications are discussed from a public health perspective.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Disease control; Fecal–oral transmission; Mode of transmission; Route of transmission; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus* / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Feces / virology*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • Public Health*
  • SARS-CoV-2