Fluid fragmentation from hospital toilets

Hospital-acquired infections represent significant health and financial burdens to society. Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a particularly challenging bacteria with the potential to cause severe diarrhea and death. One mode of transmission for C. difficile, as well as other pathogens, which has received little attention is the potential air contamination by pathogen-bearing droplets emanating from toilets. In the fluid dynamics video submitted to the APS DFD Gallery of Fluid Motion 2013, we present flow visualizations via high-speed recordings showing the capture of the product of the fluid fragmentation generated by hospital toilet high-pressure flushes. Important quantities of both large and small droplets are observed. We illustrate how high-pressure flushes and cleaning products currently used in hospital toilets result in aggravating, rather than alleviating, the suspension and recirculation of tenacious airborne pathogen-bearing droplets.