Medicine

Security trays carry most germs in airport, study finds

Security trays carry most germs in airport, study finds

At the end of the study, the team suggested that airports could provide "hand sanitization opportunities where intense, repeat touching of surfaces takes place such as immediately before and after security screening".

Earlier this year, a study conducted 18 tests on six different surfaces at three major airports to discover that the airport's self-check kiosks contained the most colony-forming units of bacteria, according to my report for the Deseret News. Rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold.

Viral contamination of standard passenger pathways and procedures in an airport - such as security screening trays - "have the potential to be especially problematic if a severe pathogen with an indirect transmission mechanism were to pose a threat for worldwide spread", the researchers note. The researchers visited several times during peak 2015-2016 flu season to collect germ samples right after the airport's morning, noon, and mid-afternoon rushes.

The germiest, most virus-laden surface in the airport is not the toilet, check-in desk or food counter. "Interestingly, no respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces". Other germ-infested areas include stair handrails, the passport control point and children's playground.

More news: Trey Burton sends ideal tweet after Eagles run trick play

Hand sanitisation would not eliminate the risk of contamination entirely, but would be effective for targeting viruses including influenza.

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

Airports are of particular interest to those studying how pandemics spread, because they are crowded areas where diseases can potentially be passed to and from carriers who travel thousands of miles.

"The presence of microbes in the environment of an airport has not been investigated previously", said virology expert Niina Ikonen from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, The Guardian reported. "People can help to minimise contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places", said study co-author Jonathan Van Tamion in a statement.


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