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sarongsong
2005-Dec-26, 09:07 PM
December 26. 2005 (http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/health/20051226-9999-1m26germ.html)
"...The SDSU study was done by four passengers swabbing samples from 10 sites aboard each plane: armrests and tray tables in the cabin, and the toilet seats, sinks, floors, unused paper towels and doorknobs – both going in and coming out – in the bathrooms. They tested flights in mid-2004 from Honolulu to San Francisco and Denver; Mexico to San Diego; Oakland to San Francisco and Chicago to Washington, D.C... "

Candy
2005-Dec-26, 09:17 PM
OK, you can go in there. Just be careful, advises SDSU biology professor Scott Kelley. He assures travelers that while some of the deadliest diseases known to man have spread via airplanes, most parts of commercial airliners won't make you sick, probably.
Isn't this a little misleading? Shouldn't it be more like, passengers have carried some of the most deadliest diseases while traveling on an airplane from country to country or city to city? The passengers, as far as I know, haven't given other passengers a deadly disease. :mad:

Now, I go back to licking the door handles on 737's when no one is watching. :shhh:

jt-3d
2005-Dec-26, 10:00 PM
But the bathrooms, Kelley says, think flying germ farm. As is any public bathroom. Listen to your mothers, kids. One big difference airplane lavs use degerm fluid in the tanks, not just plain water.


The good news is that most parts of the cabins tested proved not pathogenic enough to worry about. Still you should wash your hands often. I always do after working in the cabin.


But in those lavatories, Kelley said, "It was worse than a fraternity house in there. I can't think of a more diverse area (of bacterial contamination)." A bit over the top with that one.


Still, some of Kelley's findings troubled him, including discovering opportunistic pathogens like strep (streptococcus) and staph (staphylococcal) that can cause a variety of health problems from mild to fatal, from strep throat to serious bacterial infections. The potential danger, he said, was to people with weakened immune systems. Run in circles. Be affraid.


"I don't think it's a risk at all," Arguin said, adding that people are no more at risk in airplane bathrooms than in any other public place. Ding.


Their paper backed their claims about the potential for disease to travel aboard confined spaces, like jets, by citing other research, including a 1996 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that found that a single passenger carrying antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis infected 30*percent of the passengers seated nearby, plus another 3*percent of the passengers aboard. Ever been in a crowded movie theater?


An airline industry spokesman defended airplane sanitation, noting that the federal government requires planes to be cleaned after every flight and scrubbed with disinfectant every night. It's true ya know.


Microbiologically speaking, Kelley found jets to be less disgusting but more varied than what lives on a typical shower curtain. Shower curtain pathology was the subject of a previous study by Kelley, where he and fellow researchers found that what most of us thought was just harmless soap scum is actually a veritable rain forest of revolting microbial scuzz. Rats, I just remembered I meant to wash my shower curtain last night.


Not movie theaters, he promises. "I don't want to go around alarming people."
Too bad, it would have been such a nice comparison for that plague spreading thing.


"However, I will wash well after using the lavatory and I may use a paper towel to open the lavatory door as I leave."
As do I when using the bathroom in a restaurant.

The knob, he found, was the nastiest part of plane.
And that would be because of those who don't wash their hands. Same as a restaurant.

Bah, more fear mongering. http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon13.gif

Hope I didn't over quote with this one.

Moose
2005-Dec-26, 11:38 PM
It seems to me a reasonable hypothesis (though one I've neither personally tested nor seen any sort of research on) that trace incidental contacts with these sorts of icky little biologics throughout our lives has the effect of training our immune systems to handle more serious infections.

It further seems to me a reasonable hypothesis that, like improper use of antibiotic drugs, continued use of products like antibacterial soaps, countertop sprays, and the like will have the long-term effect of evolving resistant bacterial strains from the survivors.

montebianco
2005-Dec-26, 11:43 PM
Now, I go back to licking the door handles on 737's when no one is watching. :shhh:

Thank you for that image...

I wonder if there are differences in economy/business/first classes.

The Bad Astronomer
2005-Dec-27, 12:24 AM
The solution is obvious: wash your hands (http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2005/07/17/i-wash-my-hands-of-you/).

Of course, if the faucet on the plane is teeming, then this is still a problem. I carry a small bottle of disinfectant hand lotion stuff when I travel.

And read Richard Preston's "Hot Zone". The first few pages describing a flying traveler with Marburg virus still haunt me...

tmosher
2005-Dec-27, 01:29 AM
You want a breeding ground of germs, look no further than your office desk.

"Office toilet seats had 49 germs per square inch, he found. But desktops had almost 21,000 germs per square inch. Phones were worse -- more than 25,000 germs per square inch."

http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/12/13/cold.flu.desk/

sarongsong
2005-Dec-27, 02:13 AM
It would have been interesting to have included air sample results to find what, if anything, is floating around an airliner's interior.

Swift
2005-Dec-27, 02:29 PM
It seems to me a reasonable hypothesis (though one I've neither personally tested nor seen any sort of research on) that trace incidental contacts with these sorts of icky little biologics throughout our lives has the effect of training our immune systems to handle more serious infections.

It further seems to me a reasonable hypothesis that, like improper use of antibiotic drugs, continued use of products like antibacterial soaps, countertop sprays, and the like will have the long-term effect of evolving resistant bacterial strains from the survivors.
Those are exactly my feelings too. I have heard the hypothesis that the increase in childhood allergies and asthma is at least partially related to less exposure to germs early in childhood. I suspect that one could test virtually every surface on the planet (outside of clean rooms and operating theatres) and find germs.

Candy
2005-Dec-27, 02:39 PM
Thank you for that image...

I wonder if there are differences in economy/business/first classes.
No, the door handles taste the same. :p

ToSeek
2005-Dec-27, 08:33 PM
No, the door handles taste the same. :p

No flights with Candy for me. ;)

LurchGS
2005-Dec-27, 08:34 PM
You want a breeding ground of germs, look no further than your office desk.

"Office toilet seats had 49 germs per square inch, he found. But desktops had almost 21,000 germs per square inch. Phones were worse -- more than 25,000 germs per square inch."

http://www.cnn.com/2004/HEALTH/12/13/cold.flu.desk/

I love the speakerphone!

LurchGS
2005-Dec-27, 08:41 PM
It seems to me a reasonable hypothesis (though one I've neither personally tested nor seen any sort of research on) that trace incidental contacts with these sorts of icky little biologics throughout our lives has the effect of training our immune systems to handle more serious infections.

It further seems to me a reasonable hypothesis that, like improper use of antibiotic drugs, continued use of products like antibacterial soaps, countertop sprays, and the like will have the long-term effect of evolving resistant bacterial strains from the survivors.

I'm trying to find it. There was some study - 10 years or so ago, I think, that bears this out. Basically said that kids growing up in 'naturally' dirty environments (farms, mostly) were in generally healthier than their city-born cousins - because they got vaccination level exposure, rather than contagion.

I think I'll choose to disagree at this point. I think city folk tend to be sicker because their environment is *constantly* attacking their immune system - from the chemicals that make up the carpet to the pathogens trapped within it. When you are constantly warring with one set of irritants, it's relatively easy for a new set to sweep around the corner and lay you flat.

I disagree with you, Moose, on the bit about soap. Technically, all soaps are antibacterial. Sprays and the like, yeah - I agree that these are more than a waste of money. If you grow up in a hospital, then go outside when you are 21, you'll probably be dead within a week.

JohnD
2005-Dec-27, 09:05 PM
If the BA, and others need support from me, I agree, "Now wash your hands".

That is safe, sufficient protection from any and all strep., staph., E.coli or other common human commensals that you may encounter in the "bathroom"(!). Infection from carriers of Marburg, smallpox, measles or TB, which spread by airborne particles, is an entirely different story.

I would expect that Prof.Scott-Kelly would find similar contamination in buses (many long distance buses have lavatories on board), railways, cars and even home furniture. He would do us a service by testing that hypothesis, which MUST have crossed his mind, and spare us all this media hype.

JOhn

LurchGS
2005-Dec-27, 09:12 PM
doesn't even need to be long distance busses - any place the public interacts should be considered. Subway trains and other forms of public mass transportation should be high on the list.

jt-3d
2005-Dec-28, 02:37 AM
It would have been interesting to have included air sample results to find what, if anything, is floating around an airliner's interior. Dust, germs, pieces of skin ewww. It's still the same as any other public place. Airplanes are not air tight. They take air from the outside just like any building. I guess it's a common misconception that the air you board with is the air you land with. It's not, it gets filtered and replaced over time. Breathe deep, it's yummy air. snniiiiiiiffffffcoughhacksneeze

LurchGS
2005-Dec-29, 06:52 AM
Dust, germs, pieces of skin ewww. It's still the same as any other public place. Airplanes are not air tight. They take air from the outside just like any building. I guess it's a common misconception that the air you board with is the air you land with. It's not, it gets filtered and replaced over time. Breathe deep, it's yummy air. snniiiiiiiffffffcoughhacksneeze

didn't your mother ever teach you to share?

the air exchange is common sense, if you think about it - air flows from the front of the plane to the back, where it's exhausted. (I'd be tired too).

Sitting in the tail section is a mixed blessing - you are more likely to survive a crash (by >< this much), but you have to share are with all the coffin nail addicts AND you get to breathe the air left over from those in front of you.

I'll take the train, thank you

montebianco
2005-Dec-29, 07:08 AM
but you have to share are with all the coffin nail addicts

Been a while since you've flown? :D Most airlines are completely non-smoking these days...

mugaliens
2005-Dec-29, 07:57 AM
I wash my hands, push telephone buttons with my knuckles, just like Mom said to. Must work, as I rarely get sick.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Dec-29, 08:34 PM
I think city folk tend to be sicker . . .

I agree. It is kind of interesting how City Folk behave when they come out to the farm. Nothing real obvious (other than they don't know how to drive or park without lines on the pavement instructing them where to go). It's just little things about the way they move. As if they feel the need to be very cautious or careful, like they are not used to wide open spaces, their movements so much less restricted by . . . . stuff. Within a couple hours they are comfortable and the herky-jerky movements have smoothed out.

Uh-oh, I feel a link coming on. With the increasing urbanization of society has come a corresponding increase in the need for, strike that, the dependency of most people to be told what to do (as well as how and when). Living in large urban groupings has not just softened the survival skills, it has dulled the survival instinct itself to the point that without the constant assistance of signs, rules, lines, police, and myriad of other aids that tell people how to act - most would be lost, and many would perish. City Folk can not handle freedom, as is evidenced by the often heard claim that there is nothing to do. The reality is that noone has told them what to do, or presented them with something to do, and they lack the skills to create something when given the space and freedom to use as their own.

OK, a lot of vagueries, and a little **; but I think the concept is valid. People living the cubicle life have a problem when presented with more freedom than they are used to.

Reminds me of the speeded up scenes from Baraka that portray urban human behaviors as very insect-like.

ToSeek
2005-Dec-29, 08:49 PM
I worked in downtown DC for two winters and commuted by Metro (subway). The first winter, I got about three colds. After that, I got religion and thoroughly washed my hands right when I got to work and right when I got home. The second winter, I got no colds.

LurchGS
2005-Dec-29, 09:06 PM
me, I wash my hands etc... I also hammer on zinc (Cold Ease) whenever I feel even the twinges of a cold coming on. As a result, I've not had a cold in two years (I work downtown Denver and drive to work, but there's a mall shuttle I take if I need to go more than a couple blocks)

Candy
2005-Dec-30, 06:01 AM
I'm known as the clean freak at work. I wipe everything down! I share all computers with 5-8 others daily. I've got my co-workers scared to touch anything after I begin my shift. My philosophy is "It's my shift, please go home." I can't stand when someone sniffling gets too close to me. The first thing out of my mouth is, "Are you sick"? If they say yes, then I say, "Are you contagious"? I'm so mean. :D

I haven't been sick (cold or flu) in years.

archman
2005-Dec-30, 06:23 AM
I'm known as the clean freak at work. I wipe everything down! I share all computers with 5-8 others daily.

There was a study released this year I think reporting on the gross state of computer keyboards in hospitals. Since then, I have paid particular attention at my local clinic. Yuk! Some of their keyboards (and mice) are almost as icky as the video game controllers at out local McDonalds.

Dirty keyboards will be the end of us all, I'm sure.

Candy
2005-Dec-30, 06:32 AM
There was a study released this year I think reporting on the gross state of computer keyboards in hospitals. Since then, I have paid particular attention at my local clinic. Yuk! Some of their keyboards (and mice) are almost as icky as the video game controllers at out local McDonalds.

Dirty keyboards will be the end of us all, I'm sure.
I wipe the keyboards down, mice, and telephones. If it is visible, it gets sanitized. I even wipe down the tiny refrigerator and microwave. I wipe down the arm handles of all the chairs (even the adjusting part). I usually arrive at work 15-30 minutes early to accomplish this "daily" task. :o