In Summary
  • Globally, pneumonia kills an estimated 1.3 million infants under five each year.
  • Pneumococcus, the bacteria that causes pneumonia is known to spread through airborne droplets, often from the coughs and sneezes of infected individuals.

Parents exasperated by their children constantly ignoring pleas to stop picking their noses, may have finally found an argument to break the habit: it might give you pneumonia.

Pneumococcus, the bacteria that causes pneumonia – a lung condition that can prove deadly if untreated – is known to spread through airborne droplets, often from the coughs and sneezes of infected individuals.

British scientists said Thursday they had proved for the first time that the disease-causing bacteria can be transmitted manually via the nose and hands.

In a trial, the results of which were published in the European Respiratory Journal, a group of adult volunteers had the bacteria applied to their hands.

They were then given the unenviable choice of four tasks: "wet sniff," "dry sniff", "wet poke", and "dry poke" designed to mimic everyday actions that see people touch or rummage around in-side their noses.

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