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(18,631 posts)
Wed Dec 16, 2020, 12:22 PM Dec 2020

The age old question: Can farts spread disease?

I know we've all wondered about this, especially in the age off COVID-19. Now, after centuries of study, scientists have finally found the answer.


"Short answer: If you’re wearing pants, you should be fine."

"Back in 2001, a nurse asked Australian science author, educator, and commentator Karl "Dr. Karl" Kruszelnicki the same question. She wanted to know if she was contaminating the operating room she worked in by silently farting throughout procedures, Discover reports.

To get to the bottom of the matter, Kruszelnicki contacted Canberra microbiologist Luke Tennent. Tennent asked one of his colleagues to fart directly into two Petri dishes from a distance of five centimeters—first while wearing pants, and then a second time au naturel. While the first Petri dish stayed clean, the second one sprouted bacteria overnight, which seemed to suggest that clothing acts as a barrier between whatever bacteria might be expelled by a fart (not all of which would be contained within the gas itself). Dr. Karl reported the findings in 2014 in the satirical holiday issue of the scientific journal BMJ, noting:

"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. It seems, therefore, that flatus can cause infection if the emitter is naked, but not if he or she is clothed. But the results of the experiment should not be considered alarming, because neither type of bacterium is harmful. In fact, they're similar to the ‘friendly’ bacteria found in yogurt."

There's much more information at the link for those who are interested in the science of flatulence. I ran across this by accident. Really. I'm not consumed with flatulence, so stop saying that! (All apologies to Bob Boudelang).

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The age old question: Can farts spread disease? (Original Post) SergeStorms Dec 2020 OP
I Guess Pants Are The Mask Of The Ass... global1 Dec 2020 #1
They already have Wicked Blue Dec 2020 #9
I'd a died if hadn't know that. demosincebirth Dec 2020 #2
What did you learn at DU today? Midnightwalk Dec 2020 #3
I often use yogurt in my cookies. Throckmorton Dec 2020 #7
Not a medical experiment I would volunteer for DBoon Dec 2020 #4
Interesting... butt just a few months ago, smelling farts... JustFiveMoreMinutes Dec 2020 #5
My wife says, "it's just air" when she farts. Harker Dec 2020 #6
Damn lillypaddle Dec 2020 #8
Flatulence's caused farts. Arne Dec 2020 #10
Usually, mine are filtered through two layers of cloth. JustABozoOnThisBus Dec 2020 #11
Oh dear . . . . Worried2020 Dec 2020 #12
I hope they won an Ig Nobel prize for this NotASurfer Dec 2020 #13
Farting is such sweet sorrow. MicaelS Dec 2020 #14


(25,114 posts)
1. I Guess Pants Are The Mask Of The Ass...
Wed Dec 16, 2020, 12:25 PM
Dec 2020

The anti-maskers better not hear about this. They might stop wearing pants. Don't want to infringe on their rights now - do we?


(2,133 posts)
5. Interesting... butt just a few months ago, smelling farts...
Wed Dec 16, 2020, 01:45 PM
Dec 2020

... was supposed to helpful with the immune system.

(Sorry, just memory, no link).


(13,737 posts)
6. My wife says, "it's just air" when she farts.
Wed Dec 16, 2020, 01:52 PM
Dec 2020

Naturally, on those extremely rare occasions when I squeak one out, the world is coming to an end.

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