Don't share that clarinet | Science News


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Don't share that clarinet

Bacteria can linger on woodwind instruments for days

10:50am, May 20, 2011

It pays to blow your own horn — or clarinet.

Musical instruments can harbor disease-causing microbes deposited in saliva, suggesting that shared use of instruments in schools risks spreading infections, scientists report in an upcoming International Journal of Environmental Health Research.

Stuart Levy, a microbiologist at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, teamed with colleague Bonnie Marshall to test 20 recently played instruments for bacteria routinely found in the mouth. They found that clarinets and saxophones carried such microbes for up to three days — longer than flutes or trumpets did.

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