A Chief Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba Lagos, Dr. Dan Onwujekwe, says many Nigerians are not aware that closing toilet seat before flushing, especially when using public toilets, reduces the spread of COVID-19.
The researcher spoke of an urgent need for the government to begin public sensitisation on this, saying it will help in reducing the spread of viruses, including COVID-19.
He spoke in reaction to a recent study conducted by some China-based researchers.
The environmental biologists warned that the potential spread of COVID-19 via sewage must not be neglected in the battle to protect human health.
Besides washing hands and wearing face masks, researchers in China in a recent study found that closing the toilet lid before flushing helps to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The researchers from Yangzhou University in China found out that cloud of virus-containing aerosol droplets are likely to be large and widespread, and last long enough that they could be breathed in by others.
“Blocking the path of faecal–oral transmission, which occurs commonly in toilet usage, is of fundamental importance in suppressing the spread of viruses,” the scientists said.
The study was published in the journal, Physics of Fluids.
Discussing their findings, co-author, Ji-Xiang Wang, of Yangzhou University, said, “One can foresee that the velocity will be even higher when a toilet is used frequently, such as in the case of a family toilet during a busy time or a public toilet serving a densely populated area.”
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Onwujekwe, who works in the Clinical Sciences Division of NIMR, noted that COVID-19 had taught humanity a lot of things.
He said, “COVID-19 is teaching us a lot of things. It has been found out that persons who were positive before and now negative after they had been cured, keep discharging the virus in the faeces for the next 10 days, even when the virus can no longer be recovered from their nostrils or throats.
“That is the finding from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. So, aerosols from the toilet are also a way of spreading COVID-19, including among people who have been clinically cured.
“So, covering the toilet before flushing will reduce entering of such aerosols into the space and you know that such spaces are limited.”
The researcher noted that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control had advised also that people should close the toilet before flushing.
“So, it is very helpful. The public should be aware of this and know the reasons for it. The reason is that it will reduce aerosols which will also carry viruses like COVID-19 into the air.
“It is a very important procedure, more people should learn and practice it.
“The NCDC gave this as a guideline but the problem is that people do not understand it.
“If we explain why, people will buy the idea and implement it because it is for their own good. It will be nice to explain this to people and for the government to raise awareness about it in preventing the spread of COVID-19.”
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