A GROWING number of coronavirus patients are again testing positive for the deadly disease just days after being given the all clear, it's reported.
Experts say people are becoming reinfected even after they've been discharged from hospital, sparking fears that the epidemic is spiralling out of control.
Follow our coronavirus live blog to stay up to date with the latest news and updates
It comes after a woman in Japan tested positive for coronavirus twice.
The 40-year-old was working as a tour guide in the virus epicentre of Wuhan when she was struck down with the illness last month.
She was discharged a week later when she recovered and tested negative for Covid-19, despite still having a cough.
On February 21, she went back to see her doctor complaining of a sore throat and chest pains.
The woman was tested for the virus for a second time, with officials confirming she had the disease last night.
But an official at China’s National Health Commission said patients who test positive after being released from hospital have not been found to be infectious, Reuters reports.
Experts say there are several reasons why discharged patients are testing positive for a second time.
Convalescing patients, for example, might not build up enough antibodies to develop immunity to SARS-CoV-2, which means they become infected again.
The illness can also be dormant before presenting new symptoms.
However, some cases of reinfection in China have been blamed on testing discrepancies.
Earlier this month, a discharged patient in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu was readmitted ten days after being discharged when a follow-up test came back positive.
Lei Xuezhong, the deputy director of the infectious diseases centre at West China Hospital, told People’s Daily that hospitals were discharging patients based on nose and throat test samples, but new tests were finding the virus in the lower respiratory tract.
A US evacuee from China was mistakenly released from a San Diego hospital after an initial test for coronavirus came back negative.
The patient and three others were hospitalized after showing symptoms of the virus, but initial tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention returned negative results for all four patients, who were then released and taken to quarantine facilities at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where they were told to stay for 14 days.
Further testing by the CDC returned a positive result for the coronavirus, and the patient was sent back to UC San Diego Health for observation and isolation, according to CNN.
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at Britain’s University of East Anglia, told Reuters that although the patient in Osaka could have relapsed, it is also possible the virus was still being released into her system from the initial infection, and she wasn’t tested properly before she was discharged.
A Journal of the American Medical Association study of four infected medical personnel treated in Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, said it was likely that some recovered patients would remain carriers even after meeting discharge criteria.
The global count of those diagnosed with coronavirus has exceeded 82,000, with China, where the virus originated, still by far the hardest-hit country. Around 78,497 cases have been reported there, including 2,744 deaths. Recent days have seen sharp spikes in South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Source: Read Full Article