This Is the Most Germ-ridden Place in the Airport

08 September, 2018, 13:13 | Author: Veronica Peterson
  • Such trays are covered in viruses that can cause everything from the common cold and flu to pneumonia bladder infections SARS and even brain damage the study found

For many travellers, toilets were the expected number one result, however, there were no respiratory viruses found in any of the 14 toilets that were tested.

Unfortunately for travellers, while the trays may be the dirtiest items in the airport, they're also one of the most unavoidable.

Although the security trays had the highest count of bacteria, other high-risk areas were near the cash registers at shops, along staircase railings, on the counters where passports are checked, in children's play areas, and in the air all around the airport.

Comparatively, none of the samples taken from the public toilets - the toilet bowl lid, the flush and the lock - contained any detectable respiratory viruses.

Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016.

"A passenger has a virus and they breathe down into them they can deposit a little bit of virus along with their shoes and luggage into the bin", he said.

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You might want to start, because a new study from the UK's University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare found that those trays you put your belongings in as you go through security had more cold germs on them than airport toilets, the New York Times reports. They found that luggage boxes at the security check area tested positive for four viruses, including influenza virus and rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.

The authors suggest adding more hand-sanitizing stations at areas where people are repeatedly touching surfaces and germ concentration is likely to be highest and "enhancing cleaning of frequently touched surfaces".

The study was published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

Virology expert Niina Ikonen from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare said: "The presence of microbes in the environment of an airport has not been investigated previously".

Such trays are also rarely disinfected, with their hard surfaces allowing viruses to survive for up to a day.

The big concern that comes out of this study is how airports are conducive to the spread of disease. The researchers encouraged people to minimize the spread of viruses by hand-washing and coughing into their sleeves.



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