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Faecal-oral transmission

Dealing with the faecal-oral transmission in public toilet

We all have habits when it comes to our use of public toilets. Some are healthy and the others are not so healthy. The etiquette we and others display during our private moments in the toilet impact the spread of microbes. We’ve written a blog on toilet habits and have a few more on several aspects of restroom hygiene. 

The world is currently rattled by the Coronavirus pandemic and there are studies carried out to understand the nature of the virus and rate of spread. Recent research was conducted in China to understand how the faecal–oral transmission could be a familiar dissemination channel for many viruses like COVID-19. A key finding from the research reveals that blocking the channel of faecal-oral transmission is crucial in restricting the spread of the virus. What does this all mean? Read on.

 

Concept of faecal-oral transmission 

Using public toilets or sharing private facilities is the reality for most individuals. When nature calls, we have no choice than to respond in the nearest fixed or mobile public facility. We now live in unusual times, as individuals are now more hygiene conscious as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. It is no longer strange to see people pressing the door of a train with their knuckle, elbow or using the tip of umbrellas. Light is now being shed on faecal-oral transmission in today’s world. The faecal–oral channel is described as a specific route of transmission of an infection, whereby pathogens in faecal particles transfer from one person to the mouth of another individual. The usual causes of faecal–oral viral transmission are as a result of defective toilet facilities and poor hygiene behaviour. This form of disease or viral transmission takes place in toilet facilities. The rate of spread is expected in public facilities with high levels of usage, irregular maintenance and unhealthy toilet habits. 

Fluid Dynamics Perspective

In the field of Physics and Engineering, fluid dynamics can be viewed as the flow of fluids such as liquids and gases. This was adopted by the Chinese researchers to understand the flow of viruses from the faecal remnants of a person to the mouth of another. In essence, the paper adopted this approach to ascertain the impact of flushing on the spread of virus aerosol molecules. Results from this research revealed that approximately 40% to 60% of virus particles are transported above the toilet seat. This could lead to a monumental viral spread if poor toilet flushing habits are practised in public or shared facilities. 

Closing the toilet lid before a flush

Did you know that flushing the toilet can drive viral infection 3ft into the air? With this revelation, closing the lid before flushing the toilet is a no-brainer. It will help prevent the transmission of viruses like Coronavirus in public facilities. Maintaining a healthy toilet etiquette at all times will help keep families protected in these challenging times. 

 

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