Airport security trays are even nastier than toilets

Airport security trays are even nastier than toilets

Airport security trays are even nastier than toilets

The passport checking counter?

Frequent cleaning, they pointed out, is exactly the reason why an unlikely surface topped the list of the most virus-free spots in the airport: the toilet.

They were trying to identify and quantify the respiratory viruses on frequently-touched surfaces in airports as part of a broader study into the role of airports and traffic hubs in pandemics.

Feeling sick after a vacation is pretty normal if you spent some time on airplanes and in airports.

A scientific investigation has found that the plastic trays at security checks harbour the highest level of viruses of any surface in the airport.

Most alarmingly, the hand-carried luggage trays at the security check area, which everyone uses, are the most likely to carry harmful viruses.

The study pointed out that handling the plastic security trays is nearly inevitable for travelers - unlike using airport store payment points, for example.

"The most common virus found in the survey was rhinovirus, which causes the common cold but the swabs also picked up the influenza A virus".

It turns out, those plastic bins that hold your cell phone, wallet, shoes, and other personal belongings contained more samples of germs than any other tested area in airport - including toilet flushers, elevator buttons, and the flight check-in machine.

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

"This study supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread", said Jonathan Van Tram, a professor of health protection from the school of medicine at the University of Nottingham in a statement.

Of course, interacting with these surfaces, whether before you fly or on board, is no guarantee of picking up a virus.

According to the study, which took samples from 90 locations around an airport, the filthiest place of all was the TSA security bins.

Your best bet? Wash your hands as much as possible and keep the trusty hand sanitizer on standby.