If you have to kiss a trombonist, kiss the drunk one

Lie as they may, the truth is that all wind players share mouthpieces. So what’s your best risk mitigation strategy if you have to kiss a musician? Here’s some useful info:

Potential risk of salivary-mediated viral hepatitis type B transmission from oral exposure to fomites.

Osterholm MT, Max BJ, Hanson M, Polesky HF.

Twelve grade school and junior high school students had oral exposures to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive saliva via contact with contaminated musical instruments. The 12 exposed students and 18 students who served as age and sex matched controls were tested for the presence of HBsAg and antibody to the hepatitis surface antigen (anti-HBs) at 2 weeks, 8 weeks and 6 months after exposure. All students were negative for HBsAg and anti-HBs on all dates tested and reported no illness during that time suggestive of viral hepatitis. There was no evidence of viral hepatitis, type B transmission from the exposure. The students probably experienced the maximum possible oral exposure from direct or fomites contact, since there was no cleaning of the musical instruments between use by the students and teacher. Based on these results, the risk of transmission of viral hepatitis, type B from oral contact with fomites is unlikely.

That sounds good, but better safe than sorry, warns Leslie Larson Cooper, DVM, Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists:

I know at flute camp this year, the kids wiped off the mouthpieces of the shared bass and alto flutes with alcohol.

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