What's the most germ-filled spot in an airport?
In a new study by pandemic experts, those trays have been found to harbor the highest levels of viruses at airports - more so than toilets.
About 10 percent of what you touch at the airport is carrying a virus - and the most heavily infested place is one you can not avoid.
Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016.
No respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces.
Germaphobes will be horrified to find out they found evidence of viruses on 10% of all the surfaces they tested.
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Jonathan Van Tram, a professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham and co-author of the study, had this advice: "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".
The findings, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, could help improve public health strategies in the fight against the spread of infectious diseases worldwide.
Numerous surfaces we touch on a daily basis harbor and can spread germs. But air travel is known to accelerate the worldwide spread of diseases such as the flu, released naturally, and potentially of others released intentionally.
At the conclusion of the study centered on Helsinki Airport, the researchers concluded that airports should offer hand sanitizer to travelers before and after each security checkpoint, and that the baggage trays should be cleaned and disinfected more frequently.
Researchers say rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, was the most common virus found, but the study also picked up the influenza A virus. But previous research had proved that microbes can survive on various surfaces for several days.
The study notes that "hand washing and coughing hygiene are crucial to the control of contagious infections in public areas with high volumes of people passing through, " but that is apparently too much for some people.