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Wednesday March 30, 10:22

Chariots of death

The toilets are regularly cleaned with disinfectant, unlike the handles of carriages
The toilets are regularly cleaned with disinfectant, unlike the handles of carriages
 

Preliminary results of a recent American study by researchers at the University of Arizona are clear: over 72% of the 85 carriage handles examined in four states, have markers of faecal bacteria. Researchers have  found the bacterium Escherichia coli, some strains of which are highly pathogenic. According to Charles Gerba, a microbiology professor who directs the study it is more than what one might find in a supermarket toilet. Indeed, the toilets are regularly cleaned with disinfectant, unlike the handles of carriages which disinfection is not part of the routine tasks of maintenance crews supermarkets.

These results corroborate an earlier study showing that children seated in the carriages develop more disease-related bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. To protect children and prevent severe diarrhea, vomiting, or worse, remains the most consistently disinfecting the handles of shopping carts with wipes soaked in a solution of water and ethanol.

But that's not all, carts are not the only nests of microbes that must be wary in supermarkets, Professor Gerba had already highlighted high levels of bacteria in reusable shopping bags.

Bacteria are everywhere, inescapable. A few years ago, even mobile phones had been added to the list of most contaminated objects. A study by the University of Manchester has shown that they harbor 500 times more bacteria than the toilet bowl. Mice and computer keyboards, for their part have been the source of an outbreak of gastroenteritis.

According to a British study, the bacteria distributes themselves via the buttons, banknotes and even the tickets. 3D cinema glasses distribute skin infections, conjunctivitis, and even MRSA. And iPad is not spared, Stanford University has found enormous amount of bacteria and viruses on touchscreens. The list is long: doorknobs, underground bars, handrails... Not surprising given that a single gram of feces can contain over 100 billion bacteria. A figure that may push some to finally wash their hands.

 
 
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