- Jun 25, 2007
It is about time you disinfected your keyboard........
SteveD.Lifting the lid on computer filth
Office workers are exposed to more germs from their phones and keyboards than toilet seats, scientists reveal.
Work stations contain nearly 400 times as many microbes than lavatories, it is claimed.
Office equipment should be regularly disinfected to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria responsible for disease.
The reality of our grubby working environments is exposed in a study by the University of Arizona.
A desk is capable of supporting 10 million microbes and the average office contains 20,961 microbes per square inch, according to research.
The key offenders are telephones, which harbour up to 25,127 microbes per square inch, keyboards 3,295 and computer mice 1,676.
By contrast, the average toilet seat contains 49 microbes per square inch, the survey showed.
Microbiologist Dr Charles Gerba, of the University of Arizona, who carried out the research, said: "When someone is infected with a cold or flu bug the surfaces they touch during the day become germ transfer points because some cold and flu viruses can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours. "An office can become an incubator."
Dr Gerba's study found bacteria levels increased drastically during the day, peaking after lunch.
Food spills, such as tea and biscuits, can support mini eco-systems, but cleaning of keyboards and phones is not always given high priority.
Dr Gerba said: "Without cleaning, a small area on your desk of phone can sustain millions of bacteria that could potentially cause illness."
The study found that where office workers who were told to clean their desks with disinfecting wipes, bacterial levels were reduced by 99%.
British microbiologist Professor Sally Bloomfield said the study reinforced the need for good hygiene practice both at work and in the home.
She said: "The superhighways for bacteria are hands and the surfaces we touch.
"Viruses are transferred by our hands, especially cold viruses."
She said it was impossible to turn our surroundings into sterile zones, but we can minimise the risk by washing our hands regularly and using alcoholic wipes on office furniture like phones and keyboards.
Source: BBC News.
Health Warning On Computer Keyboards
Updated:07:37, Thursday May 01, 2008
Your computer keyboard could be dirtier than your toilet.
A study from Which? Computing has found some keyboards contained more bacteria than the average lavatory seat.
Researchers took swabs from 30 office keyboards and uncovered a cocktail of bugs that can cause infection and illness.
Two contained staphylococcus aureus which can lead to skin infections and food poisoning.
In one case, microbiologist James Francis recommended that a keyboard be removed as a precaution.
He described its bacteria readings as "off the scale".
Mr Francis said the contamination is largely due to a lack of proper lunch breaks.
"More and more people are eating at their desks and are transferring from hand to mouth all the time. That is making things worse," he explained.
"Telephones are also a problem. We have found a lot of pathogenic disease causing bacteria on telephones in hotel rooms for example.
"It is often down to common sense. If something looks grimy and horrible there is a good chance it is."
Jaclyn Clarabut, assistant editor at Which? Computing, told Sky News Online people have to take responsibility for their office environment.
"People should use alcohol wipes to really get rid of the germs. The best thing is to tip them upside down and watch the crumbs fall out. Once that's gone the bacteria stops growing," she said.
"If people don't clean their keyboards regularly, they might as well eat lunch in the toilet."
Contrary to some advice posted online though, office workers should not take their keyboards home and put them in the dishwasher.
Similar tests have found that mobile phones, desks and London underground seats can all be dirtier than toilets.
Source: Sky News