The study hinted at a common source like toilet
The study hinted at a common source like toilet|Representational image
NATIONAL

Common toilets a cause on concern in COVID-19 spread: Assam study

According to the study, sharing common toilets with symptomatic/ asymptomatic patients is strongly suspected to have caused transmission to close contacts

Simran Bajaj

Simran Bajaj

Guwahati: People sharing common toilets with symptomatic or asymptomatic patients are at a higer risk of contracting COIVD-19 infection, suggests a study done in Assam, monitoring around 40,000 people under home quarantine from May to July.

According to reports, Assam Police monitored home-quarantined people with the help of Dibrugarh-based Pratishruti Cancer and Palliative Trust, and found 123 people positive. The study, led by Dr Gayatri Gogoi, faculty from Assam Medical College, and Dr Dhananjay Ghanwat, Superintendent of Police, Dhemaji, had one key objective, that is, to find out if common toilets and spread to close contacts are linked to coronavirus transmission.

All the cases that were studied had been confirmed positive through RT-PCR tests and agreed to participate in the study. 82% people among them were asymptomatic.

"The study found that only 4% of an entire household of a person in quarantine got infected due to awareness on proper toilet use and over 80% of the population has independent toilets at home," said NDTV.

According to the clinical study, the spread of virus at special quarantine centres of paramilitary forces was much higher at 18% compared to 4% under home quarantine. These special quarantine facilities have common toilets and are used by infected people.

"The relation of symptomatic/asymptomatic cases and subsequent positive members in the family is not much clear as other confounding factors were not controlled such as toilets. The sharing of common toilets by family members were found to be the main case cause. Living within the facility (quarantine centre of CRPF, all tenants of a single campus) found to be the common risk behaviour and strongly suspected to have caused transmission to close contacts," the study said.

The study which has been sent to ICMR for publication says that their data from special quarantine facilities of the paramilitary CISF, BSF and ITBP where there are common toilets showed that a majority of them tested positive, hence, more people staying in such facilities need to be tested. The study hinted at a common source like toilet, irrespective of their symptomatic or asymptomatic condition.

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