24 May 2011

Vuvuzelas may enhance the spread of disease

As reported by the BBC's Health News:
A short burst on the instrument creates a spittle shower similar to a sneeze, travelling at a four million droplets a second, a PLoS One journal study shows...

Her team investigated the vuvuzela hazard using a laser device to measure how many droplets were produced by eight volunteers using the horns. On average, 658,000 lung particles, or aerosols, per litre of air were expelled from the instruments. The droplets shot into the air at the rate of four million per second.

In comparison, when the volunteers were asked to shout, they produced only 3,700 particles per litre at a rate of 7,000 per second.
The risk would apply only to diseases spread by droplet nuclei (the classic example being tuberculosis).

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