Reuters today has an article on Larry, a humanoid simulated vomiting system, which is used to analyze the effect of norovirus environmental contamination. I always like to add a picture to my blog posts, but today you'll be thankful I did not. Anyway, the synthetic vomitus used in the simulator, has a fluorescent marker that enables investigators to examine how widespread is the contamination after an episode of vomiting. Using Larry, they have found that droplets travel over 10 feet. This is important since the infecting dose of norovirus is very small, which makes it highly transmissible. As noted in the article, each droplet of vomitus has enough virus to infect over 100,000 people.

I have always wondered why anti-emetics are not available over-the-counter. If they were, quite a lot of misery could be avoided, ER visits averted, and maybe they would even provide norovirus source control by reducing environmental contamination.

Addendum (1/4/13):  NPR has added a video of Larry doing his job. It's quite impressive.


  1. this is what iv`e always wondered, I just can`t comprehend why it doesn`t occur to people to use ant-emetics, instead of throwing up multiple times, & risking ending up in hospital with deydration. Vomiting doesn`t get the virus out of the system, as most people, including doctors believe, it just spreads the virus around. I buy Motillium, (dompiradone) over the counter, & I carry them whereever I go just in case. there`s a disolvable version for people who can`t keep tabltes down. If everyone used these medications when they had norovirus, there wouldn`t be nearly so many cases.


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