With the coronavirus making headlines all over the world for months, most know to look out for its tell-tale fever, cough and loss of taste or smell.
Some may be surprised to learn, however, the respiratory infection can trigger diarrhoea.
The NHS does not recognise loose bowels as one of the three “main symptoms” but the symptom is acknowledged by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the World Health Organisation.
With the coronavirus considered an infection of the airways, some people may be puzzled as to how it impacts our gut.
Early research suggests the infection is mild in four out of five cases, but it can trigger a disease called Covid-19.
CORONAVIRUS: HOW DOES IT CAUSE DIARRHOEA?
The coronavirus only emerged at the end of 2019, and there is still relatively little that scientists understand about the pathogen.
While the NHS identified fever and cough as symptoms early on, a loss of taste or smell was only recently added to the list.
Other signs of infection have also been noted, ranging from pink eye to discolouration of the fingers and toes.
“We call it a respiratory virus but it doesn’t only affect the airways,” Dr Nathalie MacDermott from King’s College London told Yahoo UK.
“Any viral infection can cause an array of symptoms. We call them a respiratory virus, [but] that’s just where it primarily affects or where it enters [the body]”.
Although not a coronavirus strain, seasonal flu can also cause diarrhoea.
Traces of the coronavirus have been detected in stool samples, suggesting it may spread in faeces.
“There is evidence [the coronavirus] can infect the intestine by detection of viral RNA in stools,” Professor Paul Hunter from the University of East Anglia told Yahoo UK.
Read more: New ‘symptoms’ just keep on coming: How can an airway infection cause diarrhoea? By making it up