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A fomite (FOE-mite) is a physical object that serves to transmit an infectios agent from person to person. For example, a comb infested with one or more head lice would be a fomite. Likewise, the dust particles containing infectious cold virus that remain after droplets of infected saliva are coughed into the air are fomites.
Not to be confused with a vector, which is an organism that transmits the infection (as in mosquitoes transmit malaria parasites).