Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

Vuvuzelas Spray Millions of Spit Particles, Reaching A New Level of Annoying (& Virulent?)

DiscoblogBy Veronique GreenwoodMay 26, 2011 1:17 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

vuvuzela-e1306348700153.jpg

Vexing. Also, gross.

The vuvuzela

, that ear-splitting horn beloved by soccer fans and despised by everyone else, now has another count against it: it spews aerosolized spit like no other. And you know what travels in aerosolized spit? Germs. An enterprising researcher wondered

whether the technicolor trumpets had contributed to the spread of flu in South Africa during the World Cup. To see if vuvuzelas sprayed more of the tiny particles that carry germs than just plain yelling, she had some people holler into a paper megaphone and others hoot through vuvuzelas. Tracking the particles with a wind speed detector and a laser counter, she made a telling discovery: each second, yellers spewed 7,000 particles…and vuvuzelas spewed about 4 million. That’s more than four times more than a sneeze. The next step, the researcher says, is to have sick people blow into vuvuzelas and analyze the spray see whether microorganisms are actually in the particles. But we have a deeper question. Should we be avoiding kazoos? Penny whistles? Mellophones? What else is secretly coating us in a thin layer of possibly germ-bearing spit? (via Wired

) Image credit: Phillie Casablanca

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In