Today on a TV news channel I heard a doctor talking about the ways that virus can spread.  He used a term “fomites” (pronounced “foe-mights”).  I immediately knew what it was about, but I looked it up: “any inanimate object that, when contaminated with or exposed to infectious agents (such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi), can transfer disease to a new host.”

If contagious I, while shedding virus, cough on a surface, and you, unaware, later put your hand on it, you could pick up the virus I shed by coughing.  The surface was, for you, a fomite.

This is from Latin, fomes, fomitis, m., “kindling-wood, touch-wood, tinder”.

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