For an infectious disease such as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to spread, contact needs to be established between an infected host and a susceptible one.
In a range of populations and infectious diseases, peer-to-peer contact modes involve complex interactions of a pathogen with a fluid phase, such as isolated complex fluid droplets or a multiphase cloud of droplets.
This is true for exhalations including coughs or sneezes in humans and animals, bursting bubbles leading to micron-sized droplets in a range of indoor and outdoor settings, or impacting raindrops and airborne pathogens in foliar diseases transferring pathogens from water to air via splashes.
Our mechanistic understanding of how pathogens actually transfer from one host or reservoir to the next remains woefully limited, with the global consequences that we are all experiencing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This review discusses the emergent area of the fluid dynamics of disease transmission.
It highlights a new frontier and the rich multiscale fluid physics, from interfacial to multiphase and complex flows, that govern contact between an infected source and a susceptible target in a range of diseases.
Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics
Vol. 53:- (Volume publication date January 2021)
Review in Advance first posted online on October 6, 2020. (Changes may still occur before final publication.)
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