Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread outside the initial epicenter of Wuhan. We compared cases in Guangzhou and Wuhan to illustrate potential changes in pathogenicity and epidemiological characteristics as the epidemic has progressed. METHODS: We studied 20 patients admitted to the Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China from January 22 to February 12, 2020. Data were extracted from medical records. These cases were compared with the 99 cases, previously published in Lancet, from Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital from January 1 to January 20, 2020. RESULTS: Guangzhou patients were younger and had better prognosis than Wuhan patients. The Wuhan patients were more likely to be admitted to the ICU (23% vs 5%) and had a higher mortality rate (11% vs 0%). Cases in Guangzhou tended to be more community clustered. Diarrhea and vomiting were more common among Guangzhou patients and SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in feces. Fecal SARA-CoV-2 RNA remained positive when nasopharyngeal swabs turned negative in some patients. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates possible diminishing virulence of the virus in the process of transmission. Yet persistent positive RNA in feces after negative nasopharyngeal swabs suggests a possible prolonged transmission period that challenges current quarantine practices.

Original publication




Journal article


Travel Med Infect Dis

Publication Date





Clinical features, Coronavirus disease 2019, Epidemiology, Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2, Transmission, Virulence, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Antiviral Agents, Betacoronavirus, COVID-19, China, Coronavirus Infections, Cross-Sectional Studies, Feces, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Hospitalization, Humans, Intensive Care Units, Male, Middle Aged, Pandemics, Pneumonia, Viral, RNA, Viral, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, SARS-CoV-2, Treatment Outcome, Virulence, Young Adult