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Vomiting Larry robot helps to combat norovirus

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Jan. 2, 2013 at 3:37 PM   |   Comments

Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Don't feel bad that Larry has contracted the norovirus, an extremely contagious infection accompanied by (ew) explosive vomiting and diarrhea.

"Vomiting Larry," is actually a robot--a humanoid simulated vomiting system--designed to help combat the spread of the norovirus by recreating what happens when a person throws up so scientists can measure how far the virus spreads.

Larry's projectile abilities have shown that the virus can be flung nearly 10 feet, according to his creators a the British Health and Safety Laboratory. And that's important: Professor Ian Goodfellow at the University of Cambridge said only takes a tiny bit of exposure to the virus to get infected.

"It takes fewer than 20 virus particals to infect someone," Goodfellow said. "So each droplet of vomit or gram of feces from an infected person can contain enough virus to infect more than 100,000 people."

Norovirus, also known as acute gastroenteritis, infects an estimated 21 million people each year in the U.S. annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the most common virus to effect Americans other than the common cold.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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