I was a young girl, when my doctor aunty was given charge of the Infectious Disease Hospital.
I used to find her behavior strange. She was obsessed with washing her hands with soap and water.
She would treat her garments as if they were infested with virus . As soon as she would park the car in the garage and walk in ,we had to clear the way for her. Anyone who crossed her path got a blast of her vitriolic tongue, as if we had caught the virus .I always felt she was out of her mind.
She had a beautiful house with marbled tiles and all. Curtains and Carpets an absolute no no for her.
Once she offered me an apple as I extended my hand to take it she said, ”wait a minute”.
Horror of horrors she lathered it with the Lifebuoy washing soap! I angrily declined. She didn’t like my outburst and lovingly explained fomites. It didn’t make much sense then .But today in this day and age of Corona virus it is her lesson of that day comes clearly to my mind.
She told me that any inanimate object becomes a vehicle to carry infection such as clothes, wallets ,hair, skin, bedding, bags utensils key chains ,bangles etc and transfer the virus to a new host.That is why its so important to wash hands with soap .
In short it is an inanimate transporter of the pathogen .e.g. Corona virus can be transmitted by money exchanging hands,or even touching the tiny button of the lift which has been touched by an affected person.
VECTOR, is a living organism that transmits a parasite to another living being. e.g .mosquitoes are the vectors of malaria.
Basic difference between Vector and Fomites is that of living and nonliving vehicles of transferring pathogens onto the other body.
Believe me I've gone out of my mind washing my hands since the past month. Lady Macbeth comes to my mind when I feel that all the waters of Arabian sea can't seem to get this pathogen off my hands!