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What Is a 'Silent Spreader'?

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Brunilda Nazario, MD - Blogs
By Brunilda Nazario, MDBoard-certified internist and endocrinologistMarch 19, 2020
From the WebMD Archives

Cases of coronavirus continue to increase in the US and thorough the world. We know the number of ‘known’ cases that are out there, but the virus can take up to two weeks to become symptomatic. This means there are people walking around who are not yet experiencing symptoms but are still infecting others. These are the silent spreaders.

Because the virus can be transmitted before someone shows symptoms, simply avoiding people who look sick isn’t going to help much. To slow the rate of infection, it’s imperative that we follow public health strategies – like social distancing – to reduce contact between healthy people and silent spreaders.

Make sure to follow these guidelines: 

  • Stay home. Avoid going to public places or interacting with anyone outside your household unless absolutely necessary
  • If you do need to go out or interact, be sure to stay 6 feet away from people – whether they seem sick or not
  • Wash your hands – often – for at least 20 seconds with soap
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces in your home and car

I know these are tough times – none of us like having our lives limited like this. But since this virus can transmit through silent spreaders, our best bet for beating it is to keep our distance.

And keep in mind, the silent spreader may be you. So, take care of yourself – and all of us – by staying home.

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About the Author
Brunilda Nazario, MD

Brunilda Nazario, MD, is the Lead Medical Director at WebMD and is responsible for reviewing WebMD content and ensuring its accuracy, timeliness, and credibility. She is a board certified Internist and Endocrinologist, she is also certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. Upon completion of a certification in bariatric medicine, Dr Nazario is now a Diplomate for the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

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