Published: Sat, September 08, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Airport Security Bins Could Be The Reason People Get Sick While Travelling

Airport Security Bins Could Be The Reason People Get Sick While Travelling

Next time you fly, approach airport security plastic security tubs cautiously, with a recent study showing these trays boast the highest levels of respiratory viruses at an worldwide airport.

The study says that plastic trays are thought to carry high numbers of viruses due to them being rapidly reused, as well as being touched by every single passenger that passes through an airport.

A 2015 study from Travelmath reported that the tray table was the number one offender, with the drinking fountain buttons and overhead air vents the most germ-filled surfaces. 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. Fewer or no viruses were found in most toilet areas studied by scientists.

As you might imagine, the surface of each of these trays is likely to be touched by several hundred passengers as they cycle through the terminal each day.

So, the next time you plan to put your phones, laptops and keys in the security tray, it would be best to keep a sanitizer handy to keep away the germs.

Overall, the study found that 10 percent of the surfaces tested contained viruses.

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Interestingly, no respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces, they said.

According to the study, the trays are covered in pathogens that can cause everything from common cold to flu, pneumonia, bladder infection, SARS and even brain damage.

"The presence of microbes in the environment of an airport has not been investigated previously", said Niina Ikonen, a virology expert at the Finnish institute, who was involved in the study.

Viral contamination of standard passenger pathways and procedures in an airport - such as security screening trays - "have the potential to be especially problematic if a severe pathogen with an indirect transmission mechanism were to pose a threat for global spread", the researchers note. They wrote that since passengers pay more attention to hygiene and hand washing in the washrooms, there are no respiratory viruses on these surfaces.

"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", Jonathan Van Tam, a professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham's School of Medicine, added in a statement.

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