Why going through security at airports could make you ill

Airport security trays are rarely disinfected and pass through several hundred hands each day

Airport security trays are rarely disinfected and pass through several hundred hands each day

Virology expert Niina Ikonen from the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare said: "The presence of microbes in the environment of an airport has not been investigated previously".

About 10 percent of what you touch at the airport is carrying a virus - and the most heavily infested place is one you can not avoid.

The most common virus found in the study was rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.

The plastic trays that passengers put their hand luggage in at airport security checkpoints harbour the highest levels of viruses, even more than toilets, a study warns.

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

Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016.

"These boxes typically cycle with high frequency to subsequent passengers, and are typically seized with a wide palm surface area and strong grip".

A new study found that those plastic trays where the TSA makes you stash your stuff before it gets X-rayed have more germs than airport toilets.

"This knowledge helps in the recognition of hot spots for contact transmission risk, which could be important during an emerging pandemic threat or severe epidemic", they write. Jonathan Van Tram, a professor of health protection at the University of Nottingham and co-author of the study, had this advice: "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".

"The new findings support preparedness planning for controlling the spread of serious infectious diseases in airports".

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