COVID-19
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Can freshwater fish transmit novel coronavirus?

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-03-20 06:30
[Photo/VCG]

Rumors have spread that freshwater fish are no longer safe to eat, as fish ponds in some regions are built along or over toilets and used to rinse chamber pots, which some claim could transmit the novel coronavirus through the fecal-oral route.

First, no studies at present have shown the water-borne virus is infectious, so there isn't any chance people would get infections directly from fish.

Second, different types of viruses can only infect certain species of hosts over a selected temperature range. For novel coronavirus, it mostly attacks mammals, including humans, that are endothermic or warm-blooded, and the average human body temperature of around 36 degrees Celsius is most favorable for the infection and reproduction of the novel coronavirus. But most freshwater fish cannot survive at this temperature, showing they can't catch or even transmit the virus.

Cooking at a high temperature is recommended before eating freshwater fish no matter what, as the novel coronavirus can be deactivated after 30 minutes at a minimum temperature of 56 degrees. Good hand hygiene is, as always, needed after dealing with the ingredients.

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