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Musicians urged to clean music instruments to prevent disease

A new paper has revealed that music instruments shared by musicians can harbour disease causing germs.
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A new study has urged musicians to clean their music instruments properly to prevent the spread of germs.

The report, published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research, found that germs could survive for several days, particularly in wind instruments like the flute, saxophone and clarinet.

Samples taken from 20 wind music instruments showed mould, yeast and living bacteria present in all of the instruments. They also noted that disease causing germs found on commonly shared instruments could survive for up to two days, some even as long as two weeks.

The samples were collected by simulating playing the music instrument with a pump and aerosol generator whilst applying E. coli, Staphylococcus, and a deactivated strain of tuberculosis bacteria to the instruments.

Bonnie Marshall, first author of the report and a research associate at the Levy laboratory Tufts University School of Medicine, said: "As early as 1957, research showed that wind instruments could hold germs and anecdotal evidence suggests that people who play wind instruments have recurring sore throats and airway inflammation."

To minimise and prevent the spread of disease the team suggested that all instruments should ideally have their own music instruments, especially mouthpieces and reeds, and where instruments are shared, for them to be broken down into component parts and cleaned thoroughly.


Posted on 13 May 2011 15:54 to category : Instruments News

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