Airport security trays biggest carrier of germs

Why going through security at airports could make you ill

Why going through security at airports could make you ill

Surprisingly, their swabs didn't detect respiratory viruses on the toilet surfaces.

A new study has revealed that airport security trays are swarming with germs which are not even found in the airport toilet.

Unfortunately for travellers, while the trays may be the dirtiest items in the airport, they're also one of the most unavoidable.

Other surfaces that tested positive for sickness-inducing germs in the study include handrails of stairs, the desk and divider glass at the passport control point, and a plastic toy in a children's play area.

Areas of the Helsinki-Vantaa airport - which saw nearly 19 million passengers in 2017 - were tested for viral contamination, with 90 surface samples and four air samples collected over a three-week period in 2016.

According to a new study done by the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, the airport security plastic trays are in fact the biggest hub of germs.

Four of eight swabs taken from the plastic bins had evidence of a respiratory virus.

The authors suggest adding more hand-sanitizing stations at areas where people are repeatedly touching surfaces and germ concentration is likely to be highest and "enhancing cleaning of frequently touched surfaces".

Next time you go to unload your liquids and gadgets, you might want to wash your hands afterwards.

The study was carried out by the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare.

The report also commented on the dangers of spreading diseases domestically and internationally, stating: "They have the potential to be especially problematic if a severe pathogen with an indirect transmission mechanism were to pose a threat for global spread". "To our knowledge, security trays are not routinely disinfected". Experts advise washing hands and coughing into handkerchiefs or tissues to prevent the spread of viruses.

Researchers said that worldwide and national travelling has made the rapid spread of infectious diseases possible but little information is available on the role of major traffic hubs, such as airports, in the transmission of respiratory infections, including seasonal influenza and a pandemic threat.