STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Airport security trays carry more germs than toilets, study reveals

What's the most germ-filled spot in an airport? The bathrooms? Those crowded waiting areas? The passport che...

Posted: Sep 7, 2018 4:55 AM
Updated: Sep 7, 2018 4:55 AM

What's the most germ-filled spot in an airport? The bathrooms? Those crowded waiting areas? The passport checking counter?

Surprisingly, none of the above.

Air transportation

Airports

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Transportation and warehousing

Accidents, disasters and safety

Air transportation safety

Aviation security

Germs

Life forms

Microscopic life

Safety issues and practices

Travel and tourism

Travel safety and security

A new study from a team of experts from the UK's University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, published in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal, has revealed those airport security plastic trays are the biggest culprit for spreading germs in airports.

So next time you're dumping your phone, passport and laptop into the tray -- it might be worth having the hand sanitizer handy.

Revealing study

The team monitored germ levels on a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016.

Germaphobes who travel will be horrified to find out they found evidence of viruses on 10% of all the surfaces they tested. Other germ hotspots were shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children's play areas and -- unavoidably -- in the air.

There was evidence of rhinovirus -- the cause of the common cold -- plus some signs of influenza.

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

"This study supports the case for improved public awareness of how viral infections spread," said Professor of Health Protection, Jonathan Van Tram, from the School of Medicine at the University of Nottingham, in a statement.

"People can help to minimize contagion by hygienic hand washing and coughing into a handkerchief, tissue or sleeve at all times but especially in public places."

His team-partner, virology expert Niina Ikonen from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare, added: "The results also provide new ideas for technical improvements in airport design and refurbishment."

At the end of the study, the team suggest that airports could provide "hand sanitization opportunities where intense, repeat touching of surfaces takes place such as immediately before and after security screening."

It's also suggested that the trays -- and other frequently touched surfaces -- could be cleaned more regularly.

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

On board

Even if you avoid airport germs, previous studies have shown airplanes are equally as dirty.

A 2015 study from Travelmath reported that the tray table was the number one offender, with overhead air vents also among the most germ-filled surfaces.

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

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

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
74° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 74°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
73° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Thursday will start off once again in the unseasonably cool 60s. We will top off just a few degrees warmer on out Thursday, in comparison to our Wednesday. Most of the high temperatures will be in the lower 90s.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather