Can you catch COVID-19 from poop?

Some recent studies have found SARS-CoV-2 RNA, the genetic building blocks of the virus that causes COVID-19,  in feces. But it’s not clear that virus parts found in poop can make you sick. So far, the CDC says there have been no confirmed reports of the virus spreading from feces to another human. 

Some infections, like cholera or norovirus, can be transmitted through poop. Sometimes this happens when you drink from a contaminated water supply. (You may have experienced a boil water advisory before when your neighborhood experiences water contamination. Boiling water keeps you from getting sick). You can also spread these types of diseases if you don’t wash your hands after using the bathroom and later touch your mouth. 

Even if COVID-19 could be transmitted this way, frequent handwashing is probably all that’s needed to keep yourself and others healthy in general. If you’re sharing a bathroom with someone who has COVID-19, though, the CDC recommends cleaning it after every use, just to be safe. 

What about public bathrooms? There is some evidence that flushing a toilet may fling droplets into the air, so close the toilet lid before flushing if you can, and most importantly, just be sure to practice good hand hygiene whenever you use public spaces.


Last update: June 12, Year, 1:00 pm ET

Science review: JAB, ERS