Vuvuzleas can spread diseases
They became popular at the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa for the awful noise they made, but the plastic Vuvuzela horns could be an ideal breeding point for diseases.
Tests have found that they expel a large number of water droplets into the air which can then be breathed into the lungs.
Experts say that the ‘spittle shower’ is similar to that which occurs after a sneeze and can spread infections such as flu, tuberculosis and measles.
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A study found that in crowded venues such as sports stadiums one blow on a vuvuzela dramatically increases the risk of infectious particles being transmitted to the crowd.
As a result, organisers for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics are now considering whether to allow the vuvuzelas at the event.
Scientists investigating the health hazards of vuvuzelas measured the droplet count after eight healthy men and women blew on the horns.
They counted that on average 658,000 lung particles or ‘aerosols’ per litre of air were expelled from the vuvuzelas which entered the air at a rate of four million per second.
When the volunteers were asked to shout they produced approximately 3,700 lung particles per litre of air which were expelled at a rate of 7,000 per second; a dramatic reduction when compared with the results of the vuvuzelas.
Dr Ruth McNerney led the research which was conducted at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Writing in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, she said: “When attending a sporting event and surrounded by vuvuzela players a spectator could expect to inhale large numbers of respiratory aerosols over the course of the event.”
She added: “The large number of aerosols emitted by the vuvuzela 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.”
When the vuvuzelas become popular on a global level last year critics said they were already harmful because of the noise pollution that they create; the noise that is generated from can potentially be louder than a plane taking off.