According to a research recently published in the scientific journal BMC Infectious Diseases, the object trays used in airports to carry out security checks born with the international anti-terrorism measures contain more germs than those found in public toilets. The discovery, which could lead to new solutions to reduce the spread of viruses and microorganisms due to air transport, was conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Nottingham (UK) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare of Finland. We talked to Dr. Marta Noemi Monari,Clinical Technical Coordinator for the development of Group Laboratories and Services of Humanitas.
Bacteria include cold and flu viruses
The research, conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Nottingham and the National Institute for Health and Welfare of Finland in the framework of Pandhub, an EU project to study ways and means of prevention in the spread of viruses through public transport, started from the idea of monitoring the ways of spreading rhinoviruses, responsible for the cold, and viruses that cause influenza. To this end, researchers have periodically taken samples from different surfaces of the environments of Helsinki Airport, the capital of Finland, in search of germs and microorganisms. Half of the trays used to store objects that had to pass the controls before boarding the plane reported traces of viruses that cause influenza and colds. The rate was the highest of all the surfaces tested, including those found in the toilets of the airports themselves.
Lots of germs even on rubber ducks
Even the plastic or rubber ducks that are used when bathing in the bathtub are less harmless than they seem, at least from a hygienic point of view. Since surfaces are among the main vectors of viruses and microorganisms that cause diseases, doctors recommend washing your hands often even with a minimum of caution, since an infection at the airport can lead to the rapid spread of a disease in another part of the world, where without air transport it would have been difficult to occur. There are also several studies on the dangerous potential of public transport such as buses, trains and subways.
A simple gesture for prevention: washing your hands
Prevention against the spread of diseases starts with good personal hygiene practices. Washing your hands, coughing and sneezing inside a handkerchief, covering your mouth and avoiding continuous touching of your face with your hands after coming into contact with surfaces that touch everyone can limit a risk of infection.
Hands should be washed taking at least 20 to 40 seconds to rub.