How an Aussie scientist determined whether farts spread disease

Credit: Weekend Edition

How an Aussie scientist determined whether farts spread disease

You might remember a while back, in the early days of this whole Covid thing, that some people were wondering whether or not farts could spread the virus. Well, with the new Omicron variant doing the rounds, we reckon it’s timely that an old bit of science from legendary Aussie scientist Dr Karl has once again reared its head. Check it out.

All right, we’re gonna guess that a pretty f**ken large swathe of our Australian audience knows all about Dr Karl. The rest of the world, though, might not be so blessed. So let’s meet the bloke.

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki is a well-known popular scientist who often helms radio call-in segments where he fields questions and then finds the answers. Of course, these questions can sometimes be a bit cheeky.

In 2001 – long before Covid was a thing – he was asked by a flatulent nurse whether farts could contaminate a hospital room. Enough waffle from us, though. We’ll let him tell you.

Credit: Science Focus

“She wanted to know whether she was contaminating the operating theatre she worked in by quietly farting in the sterile environment during operations, and I realised that I didn’t know. But I was determined to find out.”

From there, he did what any expert would do when they don’t know the answer to a question: he phoned a friend. He called his mate, Luke Tennent, who got a colleague to fart onto a petri dish. They conducted this experiment with clothes and without. You know, just for a ‘control’ method.

Credit: Dollar Shave Club

Dr Karl told the Canberra Times, “Our deduction is that the enteric zone in the second Petri dish was caused by the flatus itself, and the splatter ring around that was caused by the sheer velocity of the fart, which blew skin bacteria from the cheeks and blasted it onto the dish.”

While that might not answer definitively whether or not farts can spread Corona, it at least lets you know that usually, a fart’s just a fart. Dr Karl did have one final thought, though:

“Our final conclusion? Don’t fart naked near food,” he reckons. “All right, it’s not rocket science. But then again, maybe it is?”

Final thought: There you have it. There’s not much more for us to say, except that we reckon you should take Dr Karl’s advice and try not to rip material near food. Yeah, nah, don’t do that.

Just in case you missed it, here’s one of Ozzy’s latest commentary videos…Ozzy Man Reviews: Water Spraying Record

H/T: IFLSCIENCE.


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