September 28, 2016

New Research Shows E. coli Survives in Airplanes for Weeks

A two-year study conducted at Auburn University has found that pathogenic bacteria survives on surfaces in commercial airplanes for up to a week. The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The study was funded through the Federal Aviation Administration's Airliner Cabin Environmental Research Center. The government wanted to find out how long E. coli O157:H7 and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, would survive on surfaces under average conditions. An airline carrier gave researchers material from armrests, plastic tray tables, seat-pocket cloth, window shades, and metal toilet buttons. The scientists simulated the same temperature and humidity levels found during commercial flights and tested the materials for … [Read more...]

How a Plane Ride Can Make You Sick

We've all heard the stories, or perhaps we've lived the story, of how the close quarters on an airplane can make you sick. In that closed-off environment, cold and flu germs easily travel directly from one person to another. And if your immune system is at all weakened, the odds that you are going to get sick increase. (By the way, the air on airplanes is well-filtered and quite sanitary, thanks to fresh air that is constantly drawn into the plane and pressurized, passed through HEPA filters, and refreshed 20 times an hour. The air on an airplane is not likely to make you sick.) Did you know there are other, more ominous, sources of bacteria and viruses on airplanes? How about your tray table? Have you ever heard of a "fomite"? As it turns out, the air on the plane is the least of your … [Read more...]

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