Spitting and disease transmission – effectively an urban myth?

As regular readers of this blog will know I have referred to the lack of real evidence that links spitting with the spread of disease/viruses (as opposed to the idea that both can be present in spittle etc.)despite it being generally accepted and widely believed. One consequence of such beliefs is that they can impact on policy and even sentencing for acts of spitting. Such a situation is evidenced here where a Canadian judge refused to sentence a spitter harshly on the basis of what is currently little more than an ‘urban myth’.

Urban Myth and Spitting

Exaggerated health risk claims (witness drug use in sport, and the early panics around mephedrone and crack) as opposed to evidence based ones (which might reasonably still point to meaningful risks) are commonly used to bolster knee jerk policy that is dealing with ‘deviant’ behaviour that people would like to stop. Spitting it appears is no different in this respect.


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