More germs found in places other than toilets: Airport study

Ben Davidson
September 8, 2018

No respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces, according to the study published september 4 in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

The group swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during winter in 2016 before studying which areas were the worst.

Four of eight samples collected from security screening trays tested positive for respiratory viruses such as deno, influenza A, rhino and human corona OC43.

A recent study by Finnish and British researchers was published last week in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal, saying they found the highest concentrations of respiratory viruses on airport security trays, reports The Washington Post.

"These boxes typically cycle with high frequency to subsequent passengers, and are typically seized with a wide palm surface area and strong grip".

So after you grab your phone and shoes from airport security, consider washing your hands.

Researchers who repeatedly swabbed a plastic toy dog in the airport's children's playground found that 67 percent of the samples hosted cold-causing viruses.

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In comparison, of the 42 samples taken from three areas in the airport's public toilets - the toilet bowl lid, the flush and the lock - none contained any detectable respiratory viruses.

"This study supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread".

A study uncovered the airport destination with the most germs, and it's not the bathroom.

According to the University of Nottingham the study is part of a larger research project funded by the European Union that investigates how airports and other travel-heavy checkpoints are platforms for spreading serious infections.

The investigation by researchers from the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare involved sampling surfaces immediately after peak hours and before any cleaning had been performed.

He added: "People can help to minimise contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a hankerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places". She concludes that airports could provide free hand sanitizer where "intense, repeat touching of surfaces takes place". Still, your best bet to avoid illness is to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water.

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