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Corona virus: where is the greatest risk of infection?

Corona virus: where is the greatest risk of infection?



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Corona virus: risk of infection from banknotes or food?

The Corona crisis is causing great uncertainty among the population. Many people are afraid to become infected. Often it is also unknown how to be infected. Is there any danger from cash or food?

A Swiss epidemic has warned of possible infection with the new corona virus from contaminated banknotes. But is the risk really that high? And what about other items or food?

Viruses on banknotes

So far, Germans have loved their cash. They rely less on card payments than in other European countries, especially for small purchases. But in the wake of the corona virus pandemic, doubts have arisen: Is cash really a virus spinner?

"Viruses on banknotes can be dangerous if you do not wash your hands and grasp your face after touching them," said Mark Witchi, head of the vaccination recommendations and control measures section at the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, recently in the "Wirtschaftswoche".

Influenza viruses, for example, could survive on banknotes for up to 17 days, his studies have shown.

However, according to German experts, the likelihood of being infected with banknotes or coins with the novel corona virus is very low.

Infection mostly over the throat

"I would largely forget the virus stuck on the coin," said virologist Christian Drosten in an NDR podcast. The director of the Institute of Virology at the Berlin Charité explained that corona and influenza viruses are enveloped viruses. These are “extremely sensitive” to drying out.

It is different with cold viruses, which are not enveloped and less sensitive to drying out. These would be brought into the nose with the fingers and could be responsible for infections there. In the case of corona viruses, on the other hand, an infection mostly occurs via the throat - "and we don't stick our fingers in the throat," said Drosten.

He pointed out that the processes had not been finally researched. But "it is probably the case that these viruses are mainly transmitted via droplet infection because they have to be inhaled".

Therefore, the contact transfer plays a smaller role in the current coronavirus disease than in other colds.

Petting dogs and cats

The Greifswald hygiene specialist Günter Kampf sees a certain probability of finding viruses in the inanimate environment of people infected with Covid-19 - for example on clothing, glasses and banknotes.

But: “It is not known whether the material is still infectious. It is not known whether the amount is sufficient to be transferred to the nasal mucosa via the hands and trigger an infection, ”he told the German Press Agency.

It is also unlikely that viruses will be transmitted from dogs and cats when stroking the fur. "Theoretically yes, but the likelihood of it happening is close to zero," Kampf said.

Virus can persist on surfaces for several days

For a new study, US researchers have shown that the novel coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 can last for several days on surfaces.

The viable virus was detectable in air particles for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper surfaces and about a day on cardboard, the experts from several institutes wrote in the study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine”.

Viable corona viruses could still be detected on plastic and stainless steel after two to three days. Banknotes or coins were not examined for this study.

The recommendation to wash your hands often and thoroughly remains extremely important in order to avoid virus transmission to the respiratory tract and mucous membranes.

Virologist Drosten: Keeping distance is more important than touching nothing

Risk of door handle? Despite a study on the stability of the coronavirus on surfaces, virologist Christian Drosten considers staying away from other people as a more important protective measure.

The study has been widely discussed on social media in the past few days. However, this was kept extremely simple, the real infection would probably not be depicted, said the scientist of the Berlin Charité in the NDR podcast.

People who wanted to protect themselves, given such data, may have set the wrong priorities and, for example, stopped touching doorknobs, Drosten said. The more important mechanism for viruses that are transmitted by droplets, however, is not to get as close to one another, not to cough up and not to have long speech contacts at close range.

You should also avoid situations in which you no longer have any influence on the distance, for example in the subway. "Then the question is, shouldn't you rather ride a bike instead?"

Consumer advice center: No corona infections through food

So far, according to the consumer advice center, there have been no proven cases of transmission of the coronavirus via food or imported products. "As everywhere else, hygiene rules play a crucial role in the preparation of food," stressed the consumer advice center in a press release.

These should be strictly observed to protect yourself and others from infection. According to the current state of knowledge, transmission of the virus via food or imported products is unlikely.

According to the Federal Environment Agency, this also applies to transmission through drinking water. In order to protect yourself and other people from infection, the general hygiene rules such as frequent, thorough hand washing and coughing or sneezing into the crook of the arm are particularly important.

Hygiene is also important when preparing food. Since the viruses are sensitive to heat, the risk can be reduced by heating food.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) summarized in a leaflet what should be observed with regard to food hygiene in the household, the consumer center emphasized. (ad; source: dpa)

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