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Man, 82, tests positive for COVID-19 10 days after appearing to recover

Man, 82, tests positive for COVID-19 10 days after appearing
to recover 1

An 82-year-old Massachusetts man appeared to have recovered from a serious battle with the coronavirus — only to test positive again 10 days later, according to a new case study.

The unnamed man first tested positive for COVID-19 when he visited Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital with a high fever in early April, according to the report published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

A high-risk patient who suffers from Parkinson’s, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and high blood pressure, the man’s health rapidly deteriorated. Doctors placed him on a ventilator and managed to save his life during a 39-day stay at the hospital. He tested negative for the virus twice when he was discharged, according to the study.

But 10 days later, the man reported back to the hospital’s emergency department with a fever and trouble breathing.

The hospital performed a chest  X-ray, which showed signs of COVID-19 infection in his lungs again — and he tested positive for the virus.

After another stint in the intensive care unit, doctors managed to save the man’s life a second time and he was discharged after 15 days.

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The report calls into question the accuracy of certain coronavirus tests, its researchers said.

The researchers wrote that while reinfection was “possible,” they added, “the most common alternative proposed explanations to true reinfection include prolonged viral shedding and inaccurate testing” — meaning that it’s likely that the man never fully recovered from his first infection.

The scientists said age and severity of initial infection impacts “shedding,” or how long the virus will replicate and how long a person will be contagious. Older and more severely infected patients shed the virus longer than younger patients or those with more minor COVID-19 infections, according to the study.

“Many viruses demonstrate prolonged presence of genetic material in a host even after clearance of the live virus and symptomatic resolution,” wrote the study’s authors, led by Dr. Nicole Duggan.

“Thus, detection of genetic material by [a swab test] alone does not necessarily correlate with the active infection or infectivity.”

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