Computer keyboard five times filthier than the toilet seat!

According to scientists in Britain your computer keyboard could contain a virus which threatens more than just what is on the screen - they say it poses a considerable health risk which equates to those presented by a toilet seat.

The consumer-advocacy group, in Britain, 'Which?' commissioned a microbiologist to test just how clean the average computer keyboard was by looking at more than thirty keyboards in its own offices.

The results were then compared to those found on toilet seats and a toilet door handles.

The outcome was quite shocking in that one keyboard had to be removed from the office as it was revealed to be five times filthier than the toilet seat.

The keyboard apparently harboured 150 times over the level of acceptable bacteria and two other keyboards were found to contain Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause skin infections and food poisoning.

While the revelation might make most wonder at the exact circumstances under which the keyboards were being used, the fact remains that few users consider the cleanliness of their keyboard and the dirt which builds up over time.

The research also involved a survey on how often people cleaned their keyboards along with washing their hands after trips to the bathroom.

These results revealed that 11 percent never cleaned their keyboards, 46 percent cleaned them less than once a month and only 29 percent cleaned their keyboards regularly.

The microbiologist, James Francis from Kingmoor Technological Services in Carlisle, suggests the lack of proper lunch breaks is responsible for the contamination and says more and more people are eating at their desks and are transferring food from hand to mouth.

Dr. Francis says this exacerbates the problem which is also found with telephones where many pathogenic disease-causing bacteria are also found.

He says this is the case particularly on telephones in hotel rooms and as a rule if equipment appears dirty, common sense says there is a good chance it carries bacteria.

Experts say the results are not surprising as most bacteria are transmitted by hand contact.

In the States earlier this year the Centers for Disease Control and Transmission reported that a virus spread through a primary school in Washington was likely to have been spread by dirty computer keyboards - at least one classroom keyboard tested positive for flu germs.

The CDC says this was the first time the spread of flu germs had been linked to computer equipment and it is possible computers play a bigger role in the spread of germs than was previously suspected.

Computer users are urged to regularly unplug their computers, turn the keyboards upside down and shake them so food fragments and whatever else has accumulated there is removed and to use alcohol wipes to really get rid of bacteria.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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