Researchers identify features that could make someone a virus super-spreader

researchers identify features that could make someone a virus super spreader

Sumary of Researchers identify features that could make someone a virus super-spreader:

  • In a study appearing this month in the journal Physics of Fluids, researchers in UCF’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering used computer-generated models to numerically simulate sneezes in different types of people and determine associations between people’s physiological features and how far their sneeze droplets travel and linger in the air..
  • They found that people’s features, like a stopped-up nose or a full set of teeth, could increase their potential to spread viruses by affecting how far droplets travel when they sneeze..
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the main way people are infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 is through exposure to respiratory droplets, such as from sneezes and coughs that are carrying infectious virus..
  • Knowing more about factors affecting how far these droplets travel can inform efforts to control their spread, says Michael Kinzel, an assistant professor with UCF’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and study co-author..
  • “We show that the human body has influencers, such as a complex duct system associated with the nasal flow that actually disrupts the jet from your mouth and prevents it from dispersing droplets far distances.”.
  • For instance, when people have a clear nose, such as from blowing it into a tissue, the speed and distance sneeze droplets travel decrease, according to the study..
  • But when people’s noses are congested, the area that the sneeze can exit is restricted, thus causing sneeze droplets expelled from the mouth to increase in velocity..
  • When they simulated sneezes in the different models, they found that the spray distance of droplets expelled when a person has a congested nose and a full set of teeth is about 60 percent greater than when they do not..
  • The results indicate that when someone keeps their nose clear, such as by blowing it into a tissue, that they could be reducing the distance their germs travel..
  • They found that thinner saliva resulted in sneezes composed of smaller droplets, which created a spray and stayed in the air longer than medium and thick saliva..
  • For instance, three seconds after a sneeze, when thick saliva was reaching the ground and thus diminishing its threat, the thinner saliva was still floating in the air as a potential disease transmitter..
  • The work ties back to the researchers’ project to create a COVID-19 cough drop that would give people thicker saliva to reduce the distance droplets from a sneeze or cough would travel, and thus decrease disease-transmission likelihood…

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