today said there was a crude but simple explanation for mysterious bouts of food poisoning
It only takes one vomiting diner to infect an entire restaurant, they concluded.
Vomit is astonishingly effective at spreading viruses, the researchers found, with one diner being sick at a table spraying a nasty infection far and wide "like an aerosol".This surprising discovery means slack hygiene in the kitchen is not always to blame for outbreaks of food poisoning.
Public health scientists investigating how 52 diners fell ill at a hotel restaurant concluded the cause was a woman who had been sick at one of the 6 tables. The kitchen was quickly exonerated as being the source of the infection, the real culprit emerging when the scientists plotted the seating arrangements of those hit by the virus, New Scientist reported.
They found that 91% of the people on the same table as the woman had fallen victim, along with 76% and 56% of those sat on the 2 tables either side. The proportion of diners falling ill in other parts of the restaurant was in direct correlation to how far away from the ill woman they had been sitting. Only a quarter of those sat at the farthest table fell ill. One of the researchers told the magazine, "We were absolutely flabbergasted to get so clear a relationship". He said he and his colleagues had since discovered other examples of virus-laden vomit, including one on a cruise liner.
One conclusion to be drawn would be to suggest that restaurant staff may need to clear up an area much larger than they do now around someone who has been sick, experts said!.