A Chinese woman who recovered from Covid-19 more than five months ago has tested positive for the coronavirus again, authorities in central China said on Wednesday.
The 68-year-old woman, who had tested positive for coronavirus on February 8 and later recovered, tested positive again on Sunday when being admitted to hospital for another illness, said the government of Jingzhou in Hubei, the central Chinese province that was the initial epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The patient is now under quarantine and treatment, according to a statement posted on microblogging platform Weibo.
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Close contacts of the woman had been tested and returned negative coronavirus results, the Jingzhou government said in the statement, and the woman’s home and other places she had visited had been disinfected.
“There is no evidence of a risk of transmission from relapsed cases,” the Weibo post said, asking residents not to panic.
Second positive cases are common in China and other countries, but the Jingzhou case may be the longest period a recovered patient has gone before Covid-19 was detected for a second time.
Lu Hongzhou, an infectious disease expert who directs the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre, said this was a rare case and the patient was unlikely to be contagious.
Although the disease course in many cases was “unexpectedly long”, he said, “most of the Covid-19 patients test negative within a month”.
A study into more than 280 patients with mild and moderate symptoms by Lu’s team showed that it took a mean time of about 17 days from detection of the first symptom to disappearance of the virus from all body fluids. The longest for this period in the study was 49 days, it found.
A South Korean study published in May also suggested viral material from re-positive cases was not infectious. Researchers examined 285 patients who had tested positive for the virus a second time after they had recovered from the initial infection.
They found they had retrieved only dead virus particles from these positive diagnostic tests, meaning the patients could not infect another person, according to their findings published on the website of the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
In June a woman in Dallas, Texas, tested positive again for the coronavirus four months after she had been initially confirmed to have contracted the disease, NBC reported.
Her doctors believed the virus had gone dormant after the first round of infection and then re-emerged.
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This article Coronavirus reappears in Chinese woman more than five months after she recovered from initial infection first appeared on South China Morning Post