Coronavirus cleared from patient's nose, found in eye, study shows

Researchers found potentially infectious traces of the new coronavirus virus in the eye of Italy's first COVID-19 patient, even after it had cleared from her nose, according to a case study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The 65-year-old female patient traveled from Wuhan, China, to Italy on Jan. 23 and was admitted to a hospital on Jan. 29.

In addition to other symptoms, she had conjunctivitis, which prompted the collection of eye swabs three days after her admission. Researchers detected the new coronavirus after testing the swabs.

They continued to collect and test eye swabs through day 21 of her hospital stay, and all of the tests came back positive, though the virus concentration on the swabs declined.

The researchers did not detect the virus in swabs collected from day 21 until day 27, when a test of the eye swab came back positive. This was three days after the virus was not detected in nasal swabs.

"These findings highlight the importance of control measures, such as avoiding touching the nose, mouth, and eyes and frequent hand-washing," researchers wrote.


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