Beer pong: Breeding grounds for disease?

I still own a house in Guelph, Canada, that I rent to students. Last time Amy and I were in Guelph retrieving vestiges of my past – like milk cartons full of vinyl record albums, or Johnny Bower vintage goalie equipment, both of which stayed in Guelph and were donated to others – we noticed the double garage had been converted into a ping pong playing and viewing space, complete with an elevated chair for the referee.

Same with our student neighbors in Manhattan (Kansas). The living room contains a ping pong table.

When not trying to do their best Forrest Gump, these students are probably fans of beer pong, featured in the 2007 movie, Beerfest (below).

According to some UCLA publication,

Last month, CO-ED Magazine reported that there has been an increase of orally-transmitted herpes due to the not-so-sanitary game of beer pong. …

When playing beer pong, you have a possibility of getting any type of disease transferable via saliva.

The story has some stuff about throat gonorrhea which could possibly be transmitted or mono. Doubtful. The last tip, however, caught my eye:

“If you and your friends are the type to play practical jokes on each other (say light each other’s crotches on fire), I’d keep an eye out for them in beer pong. Their next brilliant idea may be to use toilet water to fill the ball-rinsing cup. If so, you could find yourself in a state of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever—due to feces-contaminated water. Let’s hope you’re up-to-date with your Hepatitis A vaccination.”


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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time