Vuvuzelas may spread diseases – experts

Those with respiratory infections advised not to blow vuvuzela in enclosed spaces

Vuvuzelas, the plastic blowing horns used by sports fans during last year’s FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa, can cause not only noise pollution but also spread diseases, experts have said.

A PLoS One journal study shows that blowing the vuvuzela for even a short time period has the potential to create more droplet particles than either coughing or sneezing.

The study concluded that vuvuzelas “have the capacity to propel extremely large numbers of aerosols into the atmosphere of a size able to penetrate the lower lung. Some respiratory pathogens are spread via contaminated aerosols emitted by infected persons.”

The experts warned that since a large number of aerosols are emitted by the vuvuzela, this “raises the possibility that, if used by persons with an infection of the respiratory tract, they could act as a conduit for the spread of infectious particles.”

The experts, however, called for further investigation to assess the potential of the vuvuzela to contribute to the transmission of aerosol borne diseases.

“We recommend, as a precautionary measure, that people with respiratory infections should be advised not to blow their vuvuzela in enclosed spaces and where there is a risk of infecting others,” experts said.

By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a