Which airport surface harbours most respiratory viruses?

Airport news Plastic trays dirty

Airport news Plastic trays dirty

They took swabs from 42 toilet seats, lids, flush buttons, door knobs and locks etc.at the airport and found that there were no viruses on them.

A new study examined a variety of airport surfaces and found that the grimiest of all were the plastic bins used for pushing shoes and carry-on bags through screening machines.

At Helsinki-Vantaa airport, the highest concentration of viruses was detected on the security check plastic trays with further viruses detected on shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children's play areas and in the air.

They even found coronavirus, which has been linked to cold-like symptoms; MERS or "camel flu", which can cause life-threatening kidney failure; and SARS, which often progresses to pneumonia.

None of these germs were found on the surfaces of toilets at the airport, the report found.

A new study says that plastic trays that passengers put their hand luggage in at security checkpoints have the highest numbers of viruses of anywhere in an airport, including toilets.


The risk of using the security trays could be reduced by offering hand sanitisation with alcohol hand rubs before and after security screening, and increasing the frequency of tray disinfection, the authors suggested. 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 study was published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

"Security check trays appear to pose the highest potential risk and are used by virtually all embarking passengers; they 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 authors wrote.

The study points out that coughing into your hands and then washing them is the key to containing contagious illnesses and not passing them on.

The big concern that comes out of this study is how airports are conducive to the spread of disease.

"These simple precautions can help prevent pandemics and are most important in crowded areas like airports that have a high volume of people traveling to and from many different parts of the world", said Jonathan Van Tam, a professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham's School of Medicine, in a statement. Still, your best bet to avoid illness is to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water.

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