This part of an airport carries more germs than toilets, new study says

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This part of an airport carries more germs than toilets, new study says

By Herb Scribner, Deseret News
There’s no way around it. You’ll have to use the airport’s dirtiest spot at some point during your travel.
Airport security plastic trays rank as the most germ-filled spot in an airport, according to a new study from a team of researchers at the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare.
The study, which was published in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal, said the trays could be cleaned more often to prevent the spread of diseases.
The research team monitored germ levels across a variety of surfaces inside the airport during the winter of 2016. They found that places such as shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children’s play areas and even the air itself were full of viruses, according to The New York Times.
“The plastic trays — used at airport checkpoints around the globe and touched by millions of passengers as they drop shoes, laptops, luggage and other items into them to clear X-ray scanners — have been found to harbor a variety of germs, including the ones responsible for the common cold,” the Times reported.
The cause of a common cold and signs of influenza were also present during their tests.
The report found that there were more germs on the airport trays than a toilet seat in an airport.
“This study supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread,” said Jonathan Van Tram, a professor of health protection from the school of medicine at the University of Nottingham in a statement. “People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times, but especially in public places.”
As CNN reported, the team said airports could offer “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.
The study identified armrests and water fountains as other dirty spots.
A 2015 study identified the tray tables on airplanes as the dirtiest place in the airport with the most germ-filled surfaces.
“Of course, interacting with these surfaces, whether before you fly or on board, is no guarantee of picking up a virus,” according to CNN. “Your best bet? Wash your hands as much as possible and keep the trusty hand sanitizer on standby.”

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