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Coronavirus latest: US nurse warns of a potential new symptom of COVID-19

Chelsey Earnest, a nurse treating patients infected with the novel coronavirus has revealed a new symptom of the deadly virus. Ms Earnest, a worker at the Life Center in Kirkland, which is the epicentre of the outbreak in Washington, revealed that red eyes may be a warning sign of a coronavirus infection.

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Ms Earnest spoke to CNN and said: “Its something that I witnessed in all of the patients. They have, like…allergy eyes [sic]. 

“The white part of the eye is not red. It’s more like they have red eye shadow on the outside of their eyes.” 

The US nurse added: “We’ve had patients that just had the red eyes as the only symptom that we saw and go to the hospital and passed away. 

“I’ve even had the disaster medical control physician ask if they have red eyes and I will say ‘yes’. And he’ll say ‘I’ll find you a bed’ It’s just something about this, the way that it affects these patients.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not listed red eyes on their site as possible symptoms of coronavirus. 

CDC said: “Symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath are the main symptoms. 

“Persistent pain or pressure in the chest and bluish lips are listed as emergency signs.” 

However, an infection could cause conjunctivitis as reported by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

How could the virus affect the eyes? 

It’s been reported that individuals infected with coronavirus develop bloodshot eyes as if they were having an allergic reaction. 

In a study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of health, how the coronavirus could affect a person’s eyes was investigated. 

The study noted: “There have been anecdotal reports of ocular infection from coronavirus infections. 

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“The ocular implications of human CoV infections have not been widely studied. However, CoVs have been known to cause various ocular infections in animals.” 

The study also noted that more research needs to be conducted on how coronavirus could affect the eyes. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology said: “Several reports suggest the virus can cause a mild follicular conjunctivitis otherwise indistinguishable from other viral causes and possibly transmitted by aerosol contact.

“Patients who present to ophthalmologists for conjunctivitis who also have fever and respiratory symptoms including cough and shortness of breath and who have recently travelled internationally could represent cases of Covid-19. 

“The Academy and federal officials recommend protection for the mouth, nose and eyes when caring for patients potentially infected with Covid-19.”

Sir Patrick Vallance, UK’s chief scientific adviser said: “It looks quite likely that there is some degree of asymptomatic transmission. 

“There’s definitely quite a lot of transmission very early in the disease when there are very mild symptoms. 

“It’s extremely important to remember to wash your hands and disinfect with sanitisers where you can in order to stop the spread of this virus.”

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