The effects of different modes of vocalization and food consumption on the level of droplet transmission of bacteria

(1) Arnold O. Beckman High School, Irvine, California, USA

Cover photo for The effects of different modes of vocalization and food consumption on the level of droplet transmission of bacteria

Expulsion of microbes through vocalization represents an important means by which pathogens are transmitted between individuals. Based on the current CDC guideline, a distance of three feet is considered to be sufficient to prevent transmission of microbes. In this study, we specifically focused on droplet transmission of bacteria expelled through the mouth, capturing microorganisms on Petri dishes set at different distances during various activities. Our goal was to assess how the mode of vocalization and the type of food consumed impact the level of bacterial transmission. By measuring the bacterial count in Petri dishes after each activity, we determined that, in fact, transmission of bacteria is significantly impacted by the type of vocal activities and the food consumed prior to vocalization. Additionally, our results are consistent with the CDC three-foot physical distancing guideline for droplet transmission of bacteria. Our study also informs on the types of activities that are associated with greater transmission of oral bacteria, such as speaking loudly and sneezing. Food types that increased bacterial transmission include raw kimchi and apples, whereas consuming raw garlic reduced transmission.

Download Full Article as PDF

This article has been tagged with:

microbiology infectious diseases