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    ABSTRACT: Vuvuzelas, the plastic blowing horns used by sports fans, recently achieved international recognition during the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa. We hypothesised that vuvuzelas might facilitate the generation and dissemination of respiratory aerosols. To investigate the quantity and size of aerosols emitted when the instrument is played, eight healthy volunteers were asked to blow a vuvuzela. For each individual the concentration of particles in expelled air was measured using a six channel laser particle counter and the duration of blowing and velocity of air leaving the vuvuzela were recorded. To allow comparison with other activities undertaken at sports events each individual was also asked to shout and the measurements were repeated while using a paper cone to confine the exhaled air. Triplicate measurements were taken for each individual. The mean peak particle counts were 658 × 10(3) per litre for the vuvuzela and 3.7 × 10(3) per litre for shouting, representing a mean log(10) difference of 2.20 (95% CI: 2.03,2.36; p < 0.001). The majority (>97%) of particles captured from either the vuvuzela or shouting were between 0.5 and 5 microns in diameter. Mean peak airflows recorded for the vuvuzela and shouting were 6.1 and 1.8 litres per second respectively. We conclude that plastic blowing horns (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. Further investigation is required 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.
    PLoS ONE 05/2011; 6(5):e20086. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0020086 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: Approximately 5% of the population worldwide suffers from industrial, military or recreational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) at a great economic cost and detriment to the quality of life of the affected individuals. This review discusses pharmacological strategies to attenuate NIHL that have been developed in animal models and that are now beginning to be tested in field trials. AREAS COVERED: The review describes the epidemiology, pathology and pathophysiology of NIHL in experimental animals and humans. The underlying molecular mechanisms of damage are then discussed as a basis for therapeutic approaches to ameliorate the loss of auditory function. Finally, studies in military, industrial and recreational settings are evaluated. Literature was searched using the terms 'noise-induced hearing loss' and 'noise trauma'. EXPERT OPINION: NIHL, in principle, can be prevented. With the current pace of development, oral drugs to protect against NIHL should be available within the next 5-10 years. Positive results from ongoing trials combined with additional laboratory tests might accelerate the time from the bench to clinical treatment.
    Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs 06/2011; 16(2):235-45. DOI:10.1517/14728214.2011.552427 · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • Public health 10/2010; 124(10):545-6. DOI:10.1016/j.puhe.2010.08.005 · 1.48 Impact Factor