Low risk of catching Covid in public toilets, study finds

Covid-19 has seen many of its plans fail, but an Australian study found that public toilets pose no risk to the virus.
Sotiris Vardoulakis from the Australian National University led the research team that found no evidence of transmission by air for pathogens like Covid-19 in public restrooms.

Science of Total Environment published a peer-reviewed study that analyzed 38 studies published between 2000 and 2020 in order to assess public toilets' risk of bacterial and viral transmission.

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The study examined several transmission methods in public washrooms, including surface contact, inhalation and faecal/oral.

Aerosolization could occur from flushing toilets and using hand drying systems in public restrooms. However, transmission rates are low as long hygiene and hand hygiene are maintained.

Vardoulakis stated that people are concerned about the use of public toilets during the pandemic.

If you reduce the time spent in the toilet, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and not eat or drink.

Health authorities in Australia have used sewage surveillance testing to determine if the virus is undetected.

Peer-reviewed research has shown that Covid patients, with or without symptoms, seem to transmit the virus via their feces. This makes it a possible transmission source.

Although aerosol particles are widely believed to be a route for Covid-19 transmission, Vardoulakis stated that there was no evidence in studies published in the first year of this pandemic of Covid-19.

He said that there are many reasons why it is low-risk in public toilets. People don't spend too much time in them and don't interact with other people.

Importantly, aerosols that you inhale from the toilet are not from your body. Cross-contamination is very unlikely.

The presence of SarsCoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease, was detected in environmental samples taken from the toilets at Covid hospitals in Singapore, England, China, and Italy.

Vardoulakis emphasized that contamination is different than transmission.

25 recommendations were made in the study to reduce contamination and transmission risk from public toilets, including doorless entryways or electric doors, shutting off the lid before flushing, and non-touch flush buttons.